State leaders prepare to launch OB Navigator program to help mothers during pregnancy

Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — State leaders are working to get more help directly to pregnant mothers and their babies.

In just a few weeks, some of the state’s top officials will hit the road to drum up awareness about a new program.

The program is called the OB Navigator program. Governor Eric Holcomb recently signed legislation into law that created it.

It’s part of the state’s goal to create a real, tangible network of services that make sure mom and baby survive and stay healthy. 

Dr. Kris Box and Dr. Jennifer Walthall will soon spread the word about the new OB Navigator program

“We are anxious to get started actually providing that connection for pregnant women who are covered by Medicaid who live in our highest-risk zip codes or counties to be connected to some type of a community-based health care worker,” explained State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box.

That worker, also known as an OB Navigator, will make home visits and give personalized guidance and support to a woman during her pregnancy and at least the first months of the baby’s life.

“Whether that’s a nurse, from nurse family partnerships, a community health worker,” Box explained. “Maybe peri-medicine or healthy families, which we have in all 92 counties.”

Starting in August, their part of the tour makes at least a dozen stops statewide.

Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Dr. Jennifer Walthall explained the services that are on the way will go beyond pregnancy.

“Also address food insecurity, and housing insecurity and transportation needs that might disconnect them from the health care needs they have. Thinking about job training or enhancing education,” Dr. Jennifer Walthall explained.

That’s important, because 53% of Indiana births are covered under Indiana Medicaid.

“So the impact of this in pregnancy and infant mortality, and maternal mortality is huge,” Walthall explained.

The state health department says the program, which launches in January, will roll out in 20 high-risk counties in the first year. Those counties include Allen, Delaware, Dubois, Madison, Marion, Martin, Randolph and Shelby.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, expectant women and new mothers from anywhere in the state can call the MOMS Helpline at 1-844-MCH-MOMS (1-844-624-6667) to find resources available in their
communities.

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