According to Maternity Care Deserts (2022) Report by March of Dimes, access to maternity care is decreasing in the parts of the U.S. that need it the most, affecting nearly 7 million women of childbearing age and some 500,000 babies.
According to the report, this is a five percent increase in counties that have less maternity access since 2020. In maternity care deserts alone, approximately 2.2 million women of childbearing age and almost 150,000 babies are affected.
In other findings, there’s a two percent increase in counties that are maternity care deserts since our 2020 report. That’s 1,119 counties and an additional 15,933 women with no maternity care. Florida had the most women impacted by improvements to maternity care access (more than 92,000) and Ohio had the most women impacted by overall reductions in access to care (over 97,000).
Among the policy solutions recommended to Congress and state governments to help reduce maternity care deserts are –
- Passing Medicaid postpartum extension from 60 days to 12 months to give moms and babies critical support during the fourth trimester
- Expanding telehealth services to bridge gaps in health care, especially obstetric services where none exist and costs are considerable
- Accounting for areas of chronic disease as contributors to maternity care deserts
- Strengthen network adequacy requirements for health care plans made available through Affordable Care Act