May 14, 2024

Purchaser Business Group on Health Releases Maternity Care Common Purchasing Agreement to Improve Outcomes for Mothers and Newborns

PBGH and its members pledge to drive change to reverse maternal mortality rates in the United States.

OAKLAND, Calif (May 14, 2024)—The Purchaser Business Group on Health (PBGH), a coalition representing 40 of the country’s largest private employers and public entities, today announced the release of its Comprehensive Maternity Care Common Purchasing Agreement. With benefits leaders from Qualcomm and Walmart serving as co-chairs of the initiative, this resource seeks to improve maternal care and birth equity through a collective commitment among employers and public purchasers of health care.

“The U.S. is facing a maternal morbidity and mortality crisis, and the inequities in access to quality care are unacceptable,” explained Nancy Jester, Senior Manager of Benefits and Wellbeing for Walmart. “Through the Common Purchasing Agreement, PBGH and its member organizations aim to reverse these trends by driving the adoption of evidence-based and innovative practices that support improved maternal health and birth equity.”

With employer-sponsored insurance covering over half of all births in the nation annually, the impetus is on employers to drive change. Despite education, income or employment status, outcomes continue to be especially dire for Black and Brown mothers and newborns.

“Through the Comprehensive Maternity Care Common Purchasing Agreement, we are not just setting the bar for quality care, we are creating pathways that lead towards measurable improvements and accountability in maternity care,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, PBGH’s president and CEO. “We are determined to make the U.S. a safe place for all people to give birth.”

The agreement centers on achieving five key principles of comprehensive maternity care:

  • Equitable care that promotes cultural humility
  • High-quality care using evidence-based care models and coordination
  • Access to timely patient-centered care, including resources for people living in maternity deserts
  • Transparency and accountability through the use of data on quality and patient-reported outcomes
  • Value-based payments that enable maternity care providers to deliver equitable, timely, affordable care

The purchasing agreement embodies a consensus among employers and public purchasers on what constitutes high-value, affordable and equitable maternity services and establishes specific expectations for health plans and providers. The goal is to materialize strategies that ensure comprehensive care, encapsulating collaboration, evidence-based practices and innovations in the field of maternal health.

“PBGH has played an instrumental role in helping us design higher quality and more equitable maternal health benefits for our workers and their families. This initiative seeks not only to drive change but also to establish PBGH employers and public purchasers as trailblazers in achieving a health care model that is both fair and effective for every family,” said Melissa Real, Senior Director, Americas Region Benefits and Global Wellbeing for Qualcomm Incorporated. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with partners, including health plans, providers, vendor solutions, and community organizations to put these strategies into practice.”

As a next step in advancing this important work, PBGH will be hosting a multi-stakeholder Maternal Health and Birth Equity Summit on September 18, 2024 in Denver, Colorado.

To learn more about the Comprehensive Maternity Care Common Purchasing Agreement and the PBGH’s commitment to maternity care and birth equity, please click here.