NH Delegation Announces Nearly $1 Million in Federal Funding for Maternal Health in the North Country
Washington, September 28, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, alongside U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan Jeanne Shaheen, announced $991.5k in federal funding for Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to strengthen maternal health care in the North Country. The congressional delegation pushed the Health Resources and Services Administration for the funding earlier this year.
“Expecting parents across New Hampshire deserve to know that their local hospital will have the trained staff and necessary resources to safely deliver their baby and provide quality postpartum care,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I’m thrilled to see these resources heading to Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon and the NH Department of Health and Human Services in Concord to strengthen maternal health care access for rural communities and support our health care workers.”
“Providing maternal health care in the North Country has been a persistent challenge, especially as many maternity wards have had to close their doors,” said Senator Hassan. “Pregnancy and childbirth can be medically risky for moms, and we must give them the support that they need. I am glad that we are making a serious investment to address this issue, and I look forward to seeing how Dartmouth will work together with its partners to make a real difference in our rural communities.”
“Right now, our country is facing a maternal mortality crisis: the U.S. is one of the only industrialized countries in the world with surging mortality rates,” said Senator Shaheen. “We must do more to support women and their maternal health while working to close the existing health care gaps in rural communities. I’m proud to support these federal grants to bring much-needed resources to the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services so they both can continue serving new mothers in our state.”
“Everyone deserves to have access to the medical care they need in pregnancy and childbirth, and rural communities have been disproportionately affected by the closure of labor and delivery units across our country,” said Congressman Pappas. “I’m thrilled to see this funding coming to New Hampshire to improve maternal health care and address our maternal mortality crisis.”
“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.”
With the $991,467 in federal funding, Dartmouth Hitchcock will work with other hospitals, community-based services and state agency partners in the North Country Maternity Network to strengthen maternal health care. Specifically, the grant will help standardize prenatal screenings, strengthen workforce training for obstetricians, provide doula services, and increase access to telehealth, among other goals in the North Country.