April 16, 2020

Market-Based Healthcare Reform Can Improve Maternal and Infant Healthcare in Rural Communities

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The Open Health team at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is grateful for the opportunity to respond to the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services Office of Minority Health’s request for policy solutions to address the growing challenges faced by women and infants in rural communities with regard to access to healthcare. The Mercatus Center is a university-based research center dedicated to advancing knowledge about how markets work to improve people’s lives. The Open Health program studies the institutions and policies that can encourage innovation in the delivery of healthcare, empowering providers to deliver better care to more people at a lower cost, year after year.

We are pleased to highlight a policy brief titled “Promoting Maternal Health in Rural and Underserved Areas,” by Darcy Nikol Bryan, MD, which outlines the following recommendations: removing restrictive certificate-of-need laws, expanding services through reassessment of prohibitive scope-of-practice restrictions, enabling free healthcare labor migration by eliminating state-level licensing barriers, and supporting telemedicine by removing regulatory barriers to this technology. Implementing these reforms will help childbearing women and their infants in rural America access the high-quality, affordable care they need.

In addition, we recommend considering the results of the Healthcare Openness and Access Project (HOAP), a set of tools providing state-by-state measures of the flexibility and discretion that patients and providers have in managing health and healthcare. HOAP seeks to understand how open each state’s laws and regulations are to institutional variation in the delivery of care, and how much access to varying modes of care this confers on the state’s patients and providers.

Please feel free to contact us anytime if we can provide additional information and resources.