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Home » Bringing Maternal Care to Rural America: ARC Fertility’s Commitment to Accessible, Affordable Healthcare Services for Individuals and their Self-Insured Employers

Bringing Maternal Care to Rural America: ARC Fertility’s Commitment to Accessible, Affordable Healthcare Services for Individuals and their Self-Insured Employers

by | Employer, Fertility Blog

Rural Couple

In the vast expanses of rural America, where tight-knit communities are often characterized by rolling landscapes rather than bustling cityscapes, a silent maternal health crisis has been unfolding. For people who live in these areas and work in local, regional or national companies, the challenges impact not only the individuals, but also their employers. When employees encounter these barriers to care, these problems often result in sub-optimal health outcomes, absenteeism and higher costs for employers.

Here are some of the key issues:

  • Social determinants of health: There are strong links between the social determinants of health — including structural discrimination and social inequities — and obstetric outcomesFactors that influence maternal health status before and during pregnancy include racial disparities, insurance status, educational attainment and median income level. 
  • Closure of rural hospitals and obstetric units: Reasons for rural hospital obstetric unit closures include staffing issues (provider recruitment and retention), low reimbursement, low birth volume and financial challenges. 
  • Workforce shortages: In the U.S., there is a shortage of maternal healthcare providers including obstetricians and gynecologists and family physicians
  • Lack of care coordination: Women in rural America may lack access to coordinated care, and specifically, coordinated maternal health services, from prenatal through postpartum care. 
  • Transportation barriers: Women in rural areas also face significant transportation barriers to maternal care, which may result in delayed prenatal care. These women may face long travel distances to appointments or lack transportation options. As a result of rural hospital closures, over half of rural women need to drive more than 30 miles to receive obstetric services, with some needing to drive 100 miles or more.
  • Poor physical and mental health: Rural women experience worse health outcomes compared to their non-rural counterparts. They have higher rates of chronic disease, smoking, substance use, and unintentional injuries. They are also less likely to receive preventive healthcare such as screenings. Rural women also experience a higher risk for perinatal depression. 
  • Lack of broadband internet: Access to consistent, affordable, high-speed internet is critical for delivering and receiving healthcare, particularly in light of the shortage of healthcare workforce. 
  • Lack of data on maternal health: Rural-specific data are needed to better understand and prevent maternal mortality, including data to better understand racial and ethnic disparities.

The challenges faced by family physicians in delivering comprehensive maternal care in these areas have come to the forefront, shedding light on the pressing need for accessible healthcare solutions that meet the needs of both self-insured employers and their workforces. 

This issue is not just a rural concern: it’s a nationwide call to action and ARC Fertility stands at the forefront of championing family-forming benefits and supporting family physicians – and all stakeholders – that are dedicated to serving rural communities.  

The Rural Maternal Health Crisis: An Urgent Call for Action

Recent news highlights the grim reality faced by family physicians in rural America, serving as the primary caregivers for expectant mothers in over half of rural U.S. counties. Maternal deaths are on the rise and infant mortality rates are increasing, painting a stark picture of a healthcare system struggling to meet the needs of its most vulnerable population. 

The scarcity of hospital services for delivering babies in rural areas exacerbates the challenges faced by family doctors, often leaving them with limited resources to provide comprehensive maternal care.

The Role of Family Physicians: Backbone of Rural Deliveries

Family physicians are the unsung heroes of rural healthcare, playing a pivotal role in addressing the maternal health crisis. They are not just medical practitioners, they are community pillars, trusted figures who navigate the delicate journey of pregnancy and childbirth with expectant mothers. 

However, the challenges they face are immense – high operating costs, declining populations and the burden of serving as the primary maternity care providers in regions where specialized services are scarce.

Federal Initiatives and a Glimmer of Hope

Amidst these challenges, a glimmer of hope emerges on the horizon. The federal government is stepping up its efforts to address the maternal health crisis in rural America.

With an investment of nearly $11 million in new rural programs, the focus is on family medicine residencies with obstetrical training. This strategic move recognizes the vital role family physicians play in providing maternal care and seeks to bolster their ranks to ensure comprehensive healthcare for expectant mothers in rural communities.

ARC Fertility’s Commitment: Accessible, Affordable Maternal Care for All

As a national provider of innovative fertility and family-forming benefits, ARC Fertility is deeply committed to addressing the challenges faced by those who live in rural America and the family physicians who provide care. Affordable family-forming benefits and robust support for family physicians are integral components of ARC Fertility’s mission to make maternal care accessible to all, regardless of geographical location.

At the heart of ARC Fertility’s response lies the recognition that family physicians need more than financial support; they need comprehensive family-forming benefits that empower them to provide holistic care. The maternal health crisis is not isolated – it intertwines with issues of fertility, family planning and overall reproductive health. By championing accessible family-forming benefits, ARC Fertility aims to equip family physicians with the tools and resources they need to navigate the complex landscape of maternal care in rural areas.

Celebrating Healthcare Heroes: Family Physicians in Rural America

ARC Fertility celebrates the resilience and dedication of family physicians in rural America. These healthcare heroes are on the front lines, working tirelessly to ensure that expectant mothers receive the care they deserve. ARC Fertility recognizes that supporting family physicians goes beyond financial assistance; it involves creating a network of care that addresses the unique challenges of rural healthcare, fostering collaboration and providing resources that empower family physicians to thrive in their vital role.

A Call to Action: Promoting Initiatives that Make a Difference

The maternal health crisis in rural America is a collective challenge that requires a collective response. ARC Fertility calls on stakeholders across the healthcare landscape to join hands in promoting initiatives that make a tangible difference. This includes not only financial investments but also a commitment to comprehensive family-forming benefits, educational resources and a collaborative approach that brings together healthcare providers, policymakers and community leaders.

In conclusion, addressing the maternal health crisis in rural America requires a multi-faceted approach that acknowledges the pivotal role of family physicians. ARC Fertility stands as a dedicated partner in this journey, championing accessible maternal care for all, celebrating the healthcare heroes in rural communities and actively promoting initiatives that have a transformative impact on the landscape of rural healthcare. 

Together, we can build a future where every expectant mother, regardless of her geographic location, receives the care and support she deserves. Learn more:

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