Jan Vest, Jennie Oberkrom

Signature touts maternity care program at health summit

Signature Medical Group presented its highly successful Maternity Care Home Program at the 4th annual Payer’s Behavioral Health Management Summit Oct. 16-17 in Washington, D.C.

Jan Vest, Signature’s CEO, and Jennie Oberkrom, LCSW, Clinical Program Coordinator, presented a case study that explored the impact of behavioral health on maternal and fetal outcomes.

The title of Signature’s presentation was “Transform Perinatal Care Delivery Through OB/GYN And Behavioral Health Integration.’’

“We had a lot of discussion around integrated care models, interdisciplinary teams, the social determinants of health and trauma-informed care,’’ Oberkrom said.

Signature began its maternity care home program in 2013 with a Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

The program has helped more than 1,800 women who are Medicaid beneficiaries from the St. Louis, Kansas City and Bolivar, Mo., areas by addressing the physical, mental and environmental health aspects of an expectant mom.

Signature’s team includes a nurse care manager, Masters’ level social workers called perinatal care coordinators, and OB/GYN physicians collaborating to coordinate care. The perinatal care coordinators meet with patients to identify mental health and social needs that impact pregnancy outcomes.

In their presentation, Vest and Oberkrom cited how integrating behavioral health into maternity care improves quality and outcomes for mothers and their babies while reducing costs through early identification of psychosocial needs.

“I’m proud of the work that we do in changing the way care is delivered, and most importantly the transformations in our patients’ lives,’’ Oberkrom said.