Indiana's My Healthy Baby program now available in all 92 counties
Indiana’s My Health Baby program – connecting pregnant Hoosiers and new moms and babies with at-home care – is now in all 92 counties.
The obstetrical navigator initiative was created just four years ago. It helps provide free, at-home support and services for pregnant people and new parents on Medicaid up through the first year of the child’s life.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said that includes more than just medical care.
“It may be just connecting them to make sure that they have a roof over their head or that they have the ability to have access to secure food and that they can keep their lights turned on – those things that can become overwhelming,” Box said.
Lynn Baldwin is the regional director for Nurse-Family Partnership at Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, one of the organizations that gets referrals from My Healthy Baby. She talked about working with a 16-year-old new mother through the program.
"The Goodwill NFP nurse also connected this parent to educational resources so that she could earn her high school diploma and ensure a successful future for both themselves and their child," Baldwin said.
The state has connected 12,000 people to home visiting services since the program’s launch. Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Dan Rusyniak said getting more people aware of the program is a current challenge.
“I also think it’s important … that we change how people think about services like home services – from, you needed it because there was something specific about you that you needed help with, versus the issue of, like, everybody needs help when they bring a child into this world,” Rusyniak said.
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The state is now collecting data about the people served by My Healthy Baby to get a better sense of outcomes – from reducing maternal and infant mortality to ensuring they have educational and career opportunities to set them up for success.
Box said an exciting aspect of My Healthy Baby has been that the highest percentage of people who connect with the state for the program has been Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black mothers.
"And that's great because that's our highest risk population," Box said. "It's where we see our highest risk with maternal mortality and poor outcomes and our highest risk for infant mortality."
Rusyniak said the program also establishes a statewide infrastructure that connects care across agencies and specialities. He said that can be especially valuable for mental health care, including for postpartum depression.
"We are much better at identifying moms and families early enough that we can intervene," Rusyniak said.
People can learn more information about the program at MyHealthyBabyIndiana.com.
Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.