Pilot program to give women’s health a considerable boost

healthy woman
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West Virginia’s Bureau for Behavioral Health, which falls under the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), was recently awarded one of four very illustrious grants, courtesy of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It will be utilized by the State Pilot Grant Program for Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women and will give the current state of women’s healthcare in Augusta County and surrounds a considerable boost.

Care has been lacking for a long time

Women have never had it easy seeking quality affordable healthcare. Even seeking a permanent remedy for a common condition such as recurrent bacterial vaginosis, which can be triggered by anything from strong laundry detergents to scented toilet paper, can feel like an almost impossible mission when basic healthcare services are found lacking. Vulnerable women such as those living with substance use disorder are prone to have even more limited access to the healthcare services they desperately require.  The 3-year grant will see $2.7 million being invested in a range of services that will directly support both pregnant and postpartum women who are living with the disorder.

Family-centered approaches are key

The SAMHSA grant will be geared towards boosting a well-planned spectrum of care that focuses on collective approaches that are family-centered as well as on service delivery that is entirely evidence-based. The grant will largely support the creation of a dedicated Project Director position within the Bureau for Behavioral Health. The PD will play a big role in effectively coordinating the state’s scope of care that focuses primarily on the behavioral healthcare of women. In addition to this, the grant will also make it possible to expand on the current Drug-Free Moms and Babies that is being implemented in Virginia. When asked about the grant, Christina Mullins, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health, stated: “With the help of our partners, this grant will enable us to further support pregnant and postpartum women and families impacted by the ongoing opioid epidemic.”

Current services need to be expanded

Established in 2011, the Drug-Free Mom and Babies program offers integrated and comprehensive healthcare to both pregnant and postpartum women. The program, which was developed by the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership, seeks to ensure positive outcomes for both mothers and babies by making a range of vital services available that include substance use screening, early intervention, prevention, and substance use disorder treatment. The grant will make it possible for the Bureau of Behavioral Health to work closely with the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership to continue building on the achievements of the various programs while boosting the services that focus primarily on the most vulnerable members of the community.

It is no secret that access to affordable, quality healthcare services for women has been lacking across the country for a very long time. Thankfully, thanks to grants such as these, existing services can be boosted and new offerings can be implemented to help ensure that women from all walks of life have access to the healthcare they deserve.

Story by Glenda Watson

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