Actions and Investments

Community Engagement and Targeted Interventions

Table of Contents

Year one of Advancing Health Equity in MA is focused on community engagement and targeted interventions. In the ten communities with the most extreme disparities, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) will work closely with community members to identify the interventions that will have the largest impact. Using the recommendations laid out in the Review of Maternal Health Access, the AHE team and community leaders kick off the community work by selecting 5-6 initiatives to start implementing immediately.

At the same time, the twelve agencies within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services will be examining all of their investments in these priority communities and across the state. Each agency - from MassHealth to the Department of Transitional Assistance - will assess all of its existing programs and services and, when necessary, rework the investments to meet the community members’ needs best.

Importantly: while we are piloting some innovative new initiatives in the communities with the most extreme needs, we are still moving full steam ahead with all statewide health equity efforts.

While we are piloting some innovative new initiatives in the communities with the most extreme needs, we are still moving full steam ahead with all statewide health equity efforts.

That includes programmatic changes within DPH and MassHealth, like doula initiatives and equity incentive programsIn addition, lessons learned from the place-based phase will translate to statewide initiatives later on, as we move further into this multi-year plan.

High-Priority Initiatives

The Department of Public Health's Review of Maternal Access identified a set of action-oriented recommendations to ensure that high-quality services are accessible for all Massachusets communities, with a lens of health equity and health outcomes. These include:

Increasing Maternal Care Access Expanding Care Delivery Models Improving and Augmenting the Workforce Improving Access to Data Behavioral Health Reproductive Health
  • Update regulations governing birth centers.
  • Integrate Levels of Maternal Care (LoMC) into DPH’s hospital licensure regulation’s perinatal section.
  • Develop a public awareness campaign describing the LoMC.
  • Implement remote blood pressure monitoring programs across all hospitals in MA.


  • Ensure insurance coverage for remote monitoring services.

  • Incentivize providers to offer Group Prenatal Care (GPC).

  • Ensure all FQHCs provide prenatal and postnatal care on-site.

  • Expand the reach of universal postpartum home visiting.

  • Include maternal/child health in the next version of local public health standards.

  • Develop a pathway to doula certification in collaboration with the doula community.
  • Update MassHealth rates to reimburse midwives equitably as physicians for the same service and encourage private insurers to follow suit.
  • Update birth center regulations to reduce supervision and staffing requirements that limit scope of practice for Certified Nursing Midwives.
  • Statutorily require everyone to provide information at the request of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee.
  • Empower the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee to access all info needed.
  • Conduct active, population-based surveillance for stillbirths.
  • Support an annual Count the Kicks campaign and give materials to providers.
  • Engage with families, fathers, and other second parents to improve services.
  • Train providers on screening, treatment, and referral for PPD and related behavioral disorders.
  • Support and amplify programs for pregnant members with SUD.
  • Protect mothers of substance-exposed newborns with no signs of abuse from DCF investigation.
  • Create inpatient behavioral health programs where infants can stay with their moms during treatment.
  • Increase access to contraceptive methods at all post-partum care providers.
  • Increase access to abortion services for patients under 18.
  • Provide support and incentives to encourage additional providers to offer abortion services, especially in rural areas and other areas with few abortion providers.
  • Promote awareness of and access to Paid Family and Medical Leave.


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