The Wright Center Fights Against National Lack of Maternal Health Services Members News January 17, 2024 One of the more unfortunate trends in American medicine is the lack of access to health services available to new mothers and their babies. Fortunately, this dire situation is getting some much-needed attention via the annual observance of Maternal Health Awareness Day, which will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 23. This year’s theme is the highly appropriate “Access in Crisis.” All over the country, maternal health services are becoming increasingly unobtainable for too many mothers and their babies, due to financial, staffing, and policy challenges that have led to more and more labor and delivery units shutting down, both in urban and rural areas. More than 2.2 million women ages 15 to 44 live in maternity care deserts with no hospitals that provide obstetric care, birth centers, OB-GYNs, or certified nurse-midwives, according to a 2022 March of Dimes report. Meanwhile, numerous mothers in the postpartum period lost their Medicaid coverage as the COVID-19 public health emergency drew down. That 12-month period is enormously critical to patients, given the potential for pregnancy-related complications. This is a significant crisis, so people should be striving to play a role in raising awareness about the crucial role maternal health care access plays for mother and baby. The Wright Center is happy to say that locally they have high-quality maternal health care providers, among them Maternal & Family Health Services. The Wright Center also delivers exceptional pediatric services. From newborn check-ups and well-visits to vaccinations, school physicals, and guidance through all the development stages, The Wright Center is here to help patients navigate their child’s health and well-being from infancy through the beginning of adulthood. The Wright Center’s pediatricians, family medicine physicians, and medical care teams are specially trained to manage all aspects of your child’s health care needs. Services include newborn care, routine vaccinations, well-child visits that test children’s hearing, vision, height, and weight, same-day sick appointments, back-to-school and daycare physicals, sports and camp physicals, asthma management, mental health screenings for ADHD, anxiety, and depression, and counseling centered on growth, development, nutrition, safety, and injury prevention. Great work is also being done by the Healthy MOMS (Maternal Opiate Medical Support) program, which was launched by The Wright Center and several other community organizations more than five years ago to assist pregnant women and new mothers overcome addiction and embrace a life in recovery. The program provides medication-assisted treatment, behavioral health, case management, and social services, ideally engaging mom and baby all the way up until the child’s second birthday. The evidence suggests that mothers who join the program and participate in recovery services well before their delivery dates are less likely to give birth to babies who experience neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a potentially painful and costly medical condition caused when a newborn withdraws from opioids or other drugs that the baby had been exposed to in the womb. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of community partners representing Northeast Pennsylvania’s health care, legal, housing, and social service organizations, Healthy MOMS has proven to be a resounding success, with more than 151 mothers active in the program today and 257 children born in the program since its inception. The Wright Center will continue doing it’s part to ensure local mothers have the care and resources needed for them and their children to enjoy a happy, healthy life.