Next Thursday, Nov. 16, is National Rural Health Day. This is an occasion to spotlight the specific medial needs of rural communities and what we can do to support them.
Rural hospitals are closing their birthing suites and services across the nation. The causes are multifactorial, but a common theme is that low volume coupled with the high cost of staffing – the specialty units with doctors and nurses. Closure of these hospital services creates maternity deserts meaning patients potentially have to travel long distances for maternal care – from pregnancy to postpartum.
WSHA has taken steps to work with members to understand the financial burden. This will help us in creating a legislative plan that could potentially offset the cost of care for rural hospitals. We are also working on a training plan that supports keeping our rural team members competent in the care and delivery of moms and babies.
And lastly, we are working on a plan to convene hospitals and academic institutions to understand how nurses, doctors and advanced practitioners can be the most prepared possible to work in the rural setting.
Safe Deliveries Roadmap (SDR) is working all birthing hospitals in Washington for the near future.
For 2024 – 2025 WSHA SDR will be working on:
- Naloxone distribution (partner with CO Naloxone Project)
- Perinatal mental health (AIM bundle)
- Planning work for reducing first time c sections (AIM bundle)
- OB hemorrhage drills with self-selected rural sites (AIM bundle)
- TeamBirth continued work (shared decision-making model)
Senior director, safety and quality and rural programs