New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI) Publishes Recommendations of the New Jersey Perinatal Care during COVID-19 Work Group

Join our Collaboratives in Action webinar series on June 18th at 3:00 pm EST
to hear from NJHCQI discussing perinatal care during COVID-19, connect with others working in the field, and to join the follow up discussion

Originally published: 05/28/2020

Updated: 06/04/2020

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health measures necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus has a significant impact on pregnant individuals. Infertility treatments, options counseling, ongoing prenatal care, and post-partum care for the patient and infant, and other necessary health and social services, remain essential for the health outcomes and wellbeing of New Jerseyans. It is crucial that these services remain accessible and that efforts to maintain social distancing practices do not inhibit service provision and quality.

Already vulnerable pregnant populations (such as individuals of color, those with low-incomes, or individuals with a disability, mental health illness, limited health care access, or underlying medical conditions) faced an increased risk of maternal mortality and other pregnancy-related complications prior to COVID-19, and the current crisis only exacerbates these disparities. Efforts to promote high-quality care must be cognizant of the needs of vulnerable populations and recognize where additional resources and individualized care are needed to optimize the health of patients and infants under these circumstances.

This report presents the recommendations of the New Jersey Perinatal Care During COVID-19 Work Group, which was led by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and included a wide array of subject matter experts. This report is divided into the following topics in order to facilitate its use by health care workers, policy makers, and other readers:

I. Prenatal Care
II. Triage & Testing Guidance for Facilities
III. Labor & Delivery
IV. Postpartum Care
V. Alternative Birthing Sites

In addition, this report includes the following Appendices with useful information and additional resources:

Appendix A: Short- and Longer-term Policy Recommendations
Appendix B: Opportunities to Support Studies to Advance Knowledge on COVID-19
Appendix C: Patient Education Resources
Appendix D: Professional Resources
Appendix E: Postpartum Contraceptive Care Resources
Appendix F: Suggested Supplies
Appendix G: Resource Support Through Insurers

This report includes recommendations which garnered broad Work Group consensus and conceptual agreement. Recommendations were based on available research, data, expert opinion, and best practices from Work Group members as well as the following entities: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Download the report or access the most recent version of the report: https://www.njhcqi.org/maternity-care/

On June 4th, 2020, Linda Schwimmer, President and CEO of NJHCQI, published a blog on the Academy Health website discussing the impact and importance of the report not only for New Jerseyans but across the country.

The blog also highlighted the crucial role RHICs play in finding solutions for critical issues such as perinatal care during COVID-19:

With state health departments around the nation stretched thin as they work to reduce spread of coronavirus, Regional Health Improvement Organizations, like the Quality Institute, can play a key role supporting state governments during the pandemic. These organizations work to improve health care quality and affordability, and to improve the health of populations. They can be the catalyst bringing together all players involved in an area of health, including people who do not routinely engage with each other.

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