CMS announced it will debut a "birthing-friendly" designation for hospitals beginning in fall 2023, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, the District of Columbia, and Maryland.
- California: Kaiser Permanente last week announced plans to add $200 million to its Thriving Communities Fund, which has helped address housing instability in the United States. Since the fund's inception in 2018, it has preserved or created more than 7,000 affordable housing units across the country and is expected to reach 15,000 units by 2015. In addition, Kaiser, in partnership with SDS Capital Group, used $50 million of its initial fund investment to create 1,800 supportive housing units in California. The new funding will help double the initiative's reach, allowing it to develop or preserve 30,000 affordable housing units by 2030. According to Steve Shivinsky, Kaiser's national media relations director, creating affordable housing is one way to positively impact underrepresented communities, including low-income and communities of color. "There's a clear link between economic stress and poor health," he said. "We find that there is more opportunity for us to have a positive effect on the underlying health conditions and the future health of communities if we can find ways for them to be housed, fed and take care of their basic needs." (Abrams, Modern Healthcare, 4/14)
- District of Columbia: Oprah Winfrey and the Smithsonian Channel announced a partnership to highlight racial disparities in health care through a documentary and industry campaign. Winfrey's documentary, "The Color of Care," examines how people of color have experienced substandard health care in the United States, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, and will premiere on May 1. In addition, there will be a year-long campaign that aims to find solutions to health inequities. The campaign will include a digital series that brings together affected communities, health care workers, medical and nursing schools, and policymakers. "The Covid crisis has exposed gross inequalities in our healthcare system which, if left unaddressed, will again disproportionately impact people of color during the next health emergency," said James Blue III, head of the Smithsonian Channel. "This campaign will work to address these inequalities." (Emerson, Becker's Health IT, 4/15)
- Maryland: CMS last week announced that hospitals can receive a "birthing-friendly" designation from the agency beginning in fall 2023. According to CMS, the designation will initially be based on the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program's maternal morbidity measure. The measure requires hospitals to confirm whether they participate in a state or national perinatal quality improvement collaborative program and if they have enacted safety practices or bundles for birth complications, such as sepsis or hemorrhages. "Everyone deserves access to quality health care, especially as they start a family," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. "At HHS, we are proposing the 'birthing-friendly' hospital designation and working with states to provide a full year of postpartum care to ensure all parents have the best care they need—before, during and after a pregnancy." (Goldman, Modern Healthcare, 4/13)