UPHCS awarded Advancing Maternal Health Equity Grant for 2023

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Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 1:00 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Upper Peninsula Health Care Solutions has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The money will help expand the Upper Peninsula Maternal Opioid Misuse Model or UP MOM Model Program to the Western UP Health Department.

Executive Director Melissa Holmquist said the number of babies born here with symptoms of opioid withdrawal is significant.

“The Upper Peninsula has the highest rate of neonatal abstinence births per live births in the state of Michigan. So, this work is really important to help our moms and babies get connected to resources within their community and make sure they have that support to lead a healthy life,” Holmquist said.

The UP MOM Model program will work with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) to utilize a Community Health Worker in their organization to implement the program’s strategy in Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties.

“And what the community health worker will do is help people with this disease. This could be helping them get their birth certificate so they can apply for housing or helping them navigate medical appointments and getting transportation to the appointments,” Project Director Katrina Keough said.

The UP MOM model program uses best practices to support pregnant and postpartum mothers impacted by opioid misuse in the Upper Peninsula. The funding provided by the BCBSM grant will support sustainable initiatives that will advance health equity and reduce the risk of maternal mortality due to substance use and opioid use disorders while assisting in the navigation of complex systems to receive care.

“We are very excited to be awarded the Advancing Maternal Health Equity Grant. This award wouldn’t be possible without the support of Upper Peninsula hospitals and their commitment to improving maternal and infant health in our region,” said Melissa Holmquist, Executive Director for UPHCS.

UPHCS Assistant Director Tyler Laplaunt said this is the program’s fourth expansion.

“We’ve seen success in several other counties of the U.P. we’ve hit the central southern, eastern, so this will head us into the western direction and really help those mothers in need with healthier births,” Laplaunt said.

UPHCS and the Region 1 Perinatal Collaborative are excited to partner with the WUPHD to implement this integrated care model and work on initiating a systemic response to improving health equity in the region’s pregnant and postpartum mothers impacted by opioid use disorders.

Keough said UPHCS wants to continue expansion in the next year.