Health Care

First-in-state maternal health initiative to launch in Tarrant County

United Way of Tarrant County (UWTC) announced a new maternal health initiative, TeamBirth, to ensure every person giving birth in Tarrant County has a voice in their care.

To an audience of more than 400 in attendance at the annual Women United Investing in Impact Luncheon, UWTC President and CEO, Leah M. King announced that seven hospitals within the JPS Hospital Network, Texas Health Resources and Baylor Scott & White will be among the first TeamBirth cohort in the state of Texas.

TeamBirth is a communication and teamwork process that aims to close communication gaps that challenge the safety and dignity of people giving birth.

“According to the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Biennial Report released by the Texas Health and Human Services in December 2022, many maternal deaths are preventable, with some caused by discrimination and lack of trust of the medical system,” King said. “It’s incumbent of hospitals, organizations like United Way of Tarrant County, individuals and philanthropists to come together to support the most important time in a family’s life. Once we do that, we have a better shot of moms, children and families being healthier. We’re proud to say Tarrant County will be the first in the state to implement a program that is known to make a difference in maternal health outcomes.”

A central component of TeamBirth is a shared planning board located in all labor and delivery rooms to name the team, elevate the patient’s birth preferences, and outline care plans and progress for the patient and the baby. JPS Health Network, the presenting sponsor for the Women United luncheon, was on hand for the announcement and expressed their enthusiasm for integrating this program into their labor and delivery operations.

“JPS Health Network is dedicated to providing for the complete healthcare needs of women in Tarrant County,” said JPS Health Network President and CEO Karen Duncan, MD. “We provide services and support for women who are seeking prenatal care, childbirth services, and well-woman care at every stage of life. Through our partnership with TeamBirth, we look forward to implementing strategies which will lead to better maternal health outcomes and improve communication and teamwork during labor for the patient, family and baby.”

The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. has been rising for decades, and Tarrant County is not immune. UWTC has been at the forefront of this issue for a couple of years as part of the City of Fort Worth Mayor’s maternal and infant health working group and by partnering with organizations like the Child Poverty Action Lab to train more than 120 individuals to serve as doulas, educating expectant mothers during pregnancy and providing a helping hand postpartum. Several of those doulas were on hand for the announcement.

“Doulas are an integral part of addressing maternal mortality, but the system and structure in the hospitals is important for them to be successful,” said TeamBirth’s Director Amber Weiseth, DNP, MSN, RN. “The goal for TeamBirth is to empower all members of the care team— including the patient—to play an active role in shared decision-making to improve the safety and quality of care. How a woman is treated during her birth experience, is empowered and listened to, translates to how she interacts with the healthcare system throughout her life. We want to build this trust.”

TeamBirth was developed and rigorously tested by Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In clinical trials conducted by Ariadne Labs across four states, 90% of patients of the TeamBirth system said they felt their preferences made a difference in the care they received, 98% of patients reported that their clinical team talked with them in a way they could understand, and 97% of patients said they had the decision-making role they wanted in labor. This dedication to patient care is paramount for Baylor Scott & White, the Community Impact Sponsor for the Women United luncheon.

“We continuously look for ways to better serve our patients and their growing families throughout pregnancy and the birthing process,” said Charles Williams, president at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth. “Strengthening communication between patients and care teams is an important aspect of our patient-centered approach and our team’s commitment to improving the lives of the patients and communities we serve every day.”

TeamBirth improves care by ensuring women giving birth and the clinicians caring for them have shared input and understanding during the delivery of care. The program calls for team huddles at key decision points throughout the hospital stay. This collaborative approach aligns with the clinical approach of Texas Health Resources, who also had representatives at the luncheon.

“We are excited to see that five of our delivering facilities in Tarrant County will be part of the growth and first cohort to implement TeamBirth,” said Mary Robinson, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, chief nursing executive at Texas Health. “We believe this approach aligns with our strategy of decreasing the NTSV cesarean rate in addition to improving mortality and addressing equity in childbearing patients throughout our facilities.”

The huddle aspect of TeamBirth ensures shared decision-making between the new parent and hospital staff in case of any unexpected changes to the delivery plan. Expectant mothers will begin to see the change in birthing hospitals across Tarrant County beginning in January 2025. For more information about this initiative contact Ariadne Labs at Initial support for the UWTC community doula program comes from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds administered by Tarrant County. Additional funding for the UWTC maternal health initiative has been provided by the Paul E. Andrews, Jr. Foundation, Marlene and Spencer Hays Foundation, and the Morris Foundation. UWTC actively seeks funding partners to continue this work with the inclusion of TeamBirth and follow-on programming.

source: press release publishes every week.
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Barbara Clark Galupi