In efforts to expand access to healthcare and support communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, UnitedHealth Group (UHG) has donated $1,250,000 to East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine. The funding funnels into telepsychiatry services intended to better address the mental health needs of new mothers and expectants; as well as address food insecurities among pregnant women, and allow for development of a new obstetric care model for high-risk patients.
The donation was made to place focus on communities that have historically higher rates of maternal and infant mortality and have seen spikes in COVID-19 cases. According to America’s Health Rankings, North Carolina ranked 30th in maternal mortality compared to all other U.S. states, with the rate being 2.9 times higher for black women than white women.
“Many women in eastern North Carolina struggle to access quality care for themselves and their children, and the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to these serious challenges. During this unprecedented time, our partnership with East Carolina University will help ensure that pregnant and postpartum women have greater access to mental health services, obstetric care and food in order to deliver healthy newborns.”Anita Bachmann, Chief Executive Officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina.
A portion of the donated funds will support the expansion of NC-STeP, a statewide telepsychiatry program founded by Dr. Sy Saeed, Professor and Chairman in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. This expansion will benefit three community-based primary care obstetric clinics serving patients across a 29-county service area. A new obstetric care model will allow patients to receive care from an ECU maternal fetal medicine specialist and their local physician. The healthcare company has also partnered with the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the March of Dimes to address the disparities in maternal health outcomes education.
UnitedHealth Group continues to show their commitment to improving healthcare for mothers and newborns by raising awareness for improved maternal health and reducing the occurrence of avoidable maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. UHG has donated more than $100 million to support those impacted by COVID-19 including healthcare workers, seniors, affected states and localities, and those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.
Information provided by UnitedHealth Group.