Ohio Joins National Program Taking AIM to Advance Maternal Health Care

Columbus, OH (43215) – The Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio Department of Health will lead the statewide implementation of a national quality improvement program organized by The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health, or AIM to advance effective practices and outcomes for maternal health in Ohio. 

“Our collaboration with the Ohio Department of Health to join and implement this renowned national program in Ohio will build upon statewide and community efforts to bring stronger maternal health outcomes,” said Mike Abrams, OHA president and CEO. “By combining the AIM program with ongoing health care quality and public health improvement initiatives that address health disparities, improve access, and expand services, we are ensuring a healthy Ohio.” More than 130,000 babies were born in Ohio hospitals last year.

“Every year, approximately 2,000 Ohio women experience a severe health condition associated with their pregnancy, and 21 women die of complications related to their pregnancy,” said Mary Kate Francis, MD, ODH Interim Medical Director. “In Ohio, over half of these deaths were preventable. Pregnancy related deaths have far reaching consequences to a woman’s family and community. Data from ODH’s Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review provides a strong foundation to build action steps. We must work together to learn from one another, coordinate efforts, and implement solutions to improve maternal health and prevent deaths. As an AIM state, and in partnership with OHA, Ohio will have access to evidence-based strategies which can be part of these solutions.” 

AIM is led by the Council on Patient Safety in Women's Health Care, which has a vision is to ensure “safe and equitable health care for every woman.” In partnership with organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Hospital Association and Association of Women’s Health for Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, AIM employs a multidisciplinary partnership within state teams. AIM participation expands access to evidence-driven approaches to improve maternal safety and outcomes, with the goal of eliminating preventable maternal mortality and severe morbidity nationwide. This program works through state teams and health systems to align national, state and hospital level quality improvement efforts to improve overall maternal health outcomes.

Ohio’s first AIM initiative will focus on improving hospital staff readiness, recognition of and response to severe hypertension in pregnancy, which Ohio’s most recent PAMR (summarizing data from 2008-2016) reported to be preventable in 85% of maternal deaths. All 100 Ohio hospitals with licensed maternity services will be invited to participate in the initiative. Participating hospitals will have access to national experts and resources, as well as statewide and national data benchmarking.

Ohio’s review reported more than 185 women in the state died from pregnancy-related complications over the nine years studied. Of those deaths, 56% were classified as preventable. The leading causes were cardiovascular and coronary conditions, and infections. 

OHA established a Maternal Health Steering Committee in 2019 to: recommend clinical initiatives for improving maternal health outcomes across Ohio; develop strategies for adoption of priority initiatives; define performance measures, goals and targets for each of the priority initiatives; and advise OHA staff on policies and strategies that support member organizations. One of the identified goals of this committee is to eliminate racial inequities in maternal health outcomes. 

In 2020, ODH convened the first meeting of the Ohio Council to Advance Maternal Health or OH-CAMH. Almost 80 stakeholders across Ohio have joined OH-CAMH to collaborate, develop and implement a statewide strategic plan to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality in Ohio and eliminate maternal health disparities. OH-CAMH membership includes local, state and national organizations to encompass the continuity in clinical and community-level care for women before, during, and beyond the perinatal window. The OHA Maternal Health Steering Committee is part of OH-CAMH.