A Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies Program grant was awarded to Holy Cross Medical Center by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The Rural OB Access & Maternal Services (ROAMS) network will develop innovative methods for providing rural OB services on a regional basis. The first year of the grant is a planning year. In years 2-4 the plan will be implemented by the network. The funding of $593,400 in year one and $2,389,379 in years 2-4 will be used to create an innovative and sustainable rural regional model of providing obstetric services to Northern New Mexico.
The concept is to create a network of care that will link three rural counties in northeastern New Mexico in a supported continuum of maternal and obstetric care. The target population is women of childbearing age and their families across Taos, Colfax, and Union Counties in northeastern New Mexico, with the goal of improving maternal health literacy and access to care by addressing geographic, educational and financial concerns.
Over the last decade the number of rural hospitals in America has declined and there has been even more of a reduction in the number of hospitals that provide care to pregnant patients” said Dr. Tim Moore of Holy Cross Women’s Health Institute. “These women must travel further and further, hundreds of miles, to receive care and deliver their babies.” Along with this the number of obstetricians and other practitioners who are trained and skilled to provide maternity care has also sharply declined. Rural America represents 75% of our land and 23% of women are age 18 years and older. Dr. Moore indicates that less than 5% of obstetricians practice in rural counties and in 50% of these areas there is no OB/GYN provider at all.
“Based upon our experience and our research, OB is a service-line that many small rural hospitals have been forced to abandon. The shrinking number of qualified providers coupled with declining and inadequate reimbursement is not a formula for success.” said Bill Patten, CEO for Holy Cross Medical Center. He went on to explain, “Holy Cross Medical Center understands the importance our community places on keeping OB services local. When we learned about this grant we saw it as an excellent opportunity to partner with other small hospitals in our region. We will be able to explore new and creative ways to provide services in each of our local communities, by pooling our resources and working together.”
This grant was applied for in partnership with the following entities:
- Holy Cross Medical Center, Critical Access Hospital (CAH), Taos, Taos County
- Miners Colfax Medical Center, CAH, Raton, Colfax County
- Union County General Hospital, CAH, Clayton, Union County
- Questa Health Center, FQHC, Questa, Taos County
- Taos First Steps, Home Visiting Program, Taos, Taos County
“This is a huge and worthwhile undertaking”, said Jeannie Ross, Community Outreach Director for HCMC. “We knew this project would be so beneficial for our communities. Only three grants were awarded nationally and we were one of them! To be chosen on a national level and be able to bring innovative ideas and technology to our families is a great opportunity.”
When asked about the importance of this funding Dr. Tim Moore indicated that this will enable northern New Mexico to create a model program to reach out and provide safe, high quality, and up to date prenatal care to all women who reside here. “My hope is that we will then be one of many such programs across the US and show that every person deserves the best care that health care can be provided, not matter where they live.”