By Samantha Saccomanno
The American Samoa team, pictured below, journeyed more than 5,600 miles to attend NCSL’s multi-state invitational meeting, "Learning Collaborative on Improving Quality and Access to Care in Maternal and Child Health.” in Westminster, Colo., in June
Seven other state teams attended—Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
Each state team was comprised of legislators, legislative staff, state health officials, maternal and child health directors, the Medicaid office and representatives from the governor’s Office.
Together, the state teams connected with and learned from other policymakers and experts on the best methods to improve systems of care for maternal and child health populations.
“Connecting with key people in my state was the most useful aspect of this meeting. New faces, new energy and new collaborations," said Lynn Nilson of the Utah Department of Health.
This three-day conference provided state teams the opportunity to listen to a variety of experts who spoke on topics related to best practices for improving access to quality health care, preventive health initiatives and family engagement in policy-decision making.
The key focus areas of the meeting were:
- Increasing continuity of coverage and care for pregnant women and children: Experts presented national and state policy options that provide coverage choices for pregnant women. Watch the video from the Utah Department of Health on preventive well-women visits presented at the conference.
- Implementing Bright Futures: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other experts presented information on Bright Futures, a set of guidelines on optimal preventative health care for children implemented by health care professionals.
- Improving systems of care for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN): Experts highlighted the key elements of health care delivery transformation that affect CYSHCN and discussed some policy levers that states can use to improve the health care delivery systems.
The state teams had time to discuss these topics during breakout sessions throughout the conference and construct team action plans based on what they learned and knew about their own states. The meeting provided an atmosphere for legislators, who otherwise might not have had the opportunity, to convene and learn from one another. Additional information about the conference’s agenda and presentations from expert panelists can be found here.
This meeting was supported by grants from the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau and was co-sponsored by the AAP, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Academy for State Health Policy and the National Governors Association.
Samantha Saccomanno is an intern with NCSL's Health program.