ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Health have launched a $72 million initiative aimed at improving maternal and child health care over the next four years, according to a statement from Hogan’s office Tuesday.

“Maryland’s maternal and child health care transformation is focused on prevention and early intervention,” said Governor Hogan. “By investing in access to prenatal care, postpartum care and child health visits, we can improve a wide range of outcomes that potentially impact the health of multiple generations of Marylanders.”

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For the next four years, Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission will offer $10 million in annual funding, the state’s Public Health Services will receive $2 million annually; Maryland Medicaid will receive $8 million annually and be eligible to receive matching federal funds each year.

The commission has earmarked funds for both new statewide programs and expansion of existing health care services, all of which may be sustained even after the funding expires in 2025. HSCRC approved the programs and services based on their ability to support the Statewide Integrated Health Improvement Strategy goals of reducing severe maternal morbidity and pediatric asthma-related emergency department visits for youth ages 2 to17.

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“By creating and expanding these programs and services, we’ll have increased access to care—especially for chronic conditions—during one of the most critical periods for intervention,” said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan. “These interventions are critical to helping set someone on the path toward a healthier future and may ultimately save lives.”

During the 2021 session, the General Assembly also passed Senate Bill 923, which extends Medicaid coverage for comprehensive medical, dental, and other health care services for mothers from two to 12 months postpartum. The legislation will provide an estimated $17 million in additional funding to improve health for mothers who participate in Maryland’s Medicaid program.

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CBS Baltimore Staff