Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center awarded $991.5K federal grant to fund improved rural obstetric care

Photo of woman receiving obstetric care

We are tremendously excited to be able to work together as a North Country Maternity Care Network, to ensure that every pregnant person in the North Country has access to the highest quality care as close to home as possible.

Daisy J. Goodman, DNP, MPH

Dartmouth Health’s Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) has been selected for a grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration’s Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) Program. The four-year grant will fund the North Country Maternity Network, a consortium of hospitals, community-based services and state agency partners to create and support the maternal health infrastructure in New Hampshire’s North Country. The amount for the first year of the grant is $991,467.

RMOMS was created in response to the barriers women in rural communities face to receiving adequate obstetric care. As of September 2022, 10 RMOMS awardees in nine states were funded to test programs that address unmet needs for their target populations. These populations may have suffered from poorer health outcomes, health disparities, and other inequities.

“The North Country region of New Hampshire faces unique challenges in providing perinatal care,” said Daisy J. Goodman, DNP, MPH, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at DHMC and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “Over the past two decades, three of the five critical access hospitals in northern New Hampshire have closed their inpatient labor and delivery units, which has also led to the loss of prenatal care providers for surrounding communities. We are tremendously excited to be able to work together as a North Country Maternity Care Network, to ensure that every pregnant person in the North Country has access to the highest quality care as close to home as possible. It is a huge privilege to work with the deeply committed partners in the Network who have come together for this work, which include the remaining critical access hospitals providing maternity care in the North Country, Federally Qualified Health Centers, regional home visiting and social service organizations, community organizations, and community members.”

The accepted proposal DHMC created to obtain the grant included some of the following planned initiatives:

  • Standardize prenatal screening across the North Country Maternity Network   
  • Prepare and implement evidence-based obstetrics pathways
  • Develop criteria and referral workflows for responding to high-risk medical, behavioral, substance-use disorder, and other social needs
  • Plan high risk care coordination, including the option of doula support services for North Country residents
  • Improve site-based telehealth to provide complex care in the community

All four members of New Hampshire’s Washington, D.C., delegation—Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH)—wrote a letter of support to the Health Resources & Services Administration in support of this grant for DHMC.

About Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 56 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, which includes Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital, and multiple clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Bennington and Windsor, VT; Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.