The Meadowlark Initiative brings together clinical and community teams to provide the right care at the right time for women and families, improve health outcomes for mothers and babies, and keep families together and children out of foster care.
The Meadowlark Initiative provides routine screening for mental illness and substance use disorders to all women during prenatal and postpartum appointments as a new standard of pregnancy care. Women with any concerns identified through screening are offered evaluation and treatment options right away.
Substance use disorders and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety impact thousands of pregnant women and their babies each year. These illnesses are common and cross all demographic groups in Montana, yet they often go undiagnosed and untreated.
Based on research and examples from other states, implementing a supportive, team-based approach to prenatal and postpartum care along with better coordination between health care providers and social service agencies offers a powerful way to improve outcomes.
The Meadowlark Initiative provides funding and technical assistance to allow medical practices that provide prenatal and postpartum care to implement a coordinated, team-based approach that improves outcomes for women with substance use disorders and mental illness. The initiative will support at least one prenatal practice in each Montana community that has a hospital that delivers babies.
The Meadowlark Initiative is funded and supported through a partnership between the Montana Healthcare Foundation and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
Of the 10,000 deliveries in Montana each year, Meadowlark care providers now screen more than 6,000 pregnant women for substance misuse, depression, and anxiety. Immediate treatment and support are offered when needed.
The initiative’s goal is to make Meadowlark care available in every Montana community with a delivery hospital. To date, The Meadowlark Initiative is actively supporting women in communities with 19 of the state’s 26 birthing facilities.
“While there are many factors that impact an infant’s removal from the home, I believe that the Meadowlark Initiative is helping safely reduce the need to remove infants. The efforts that everyone is making to support families being safe and healthy is making a difference.” – Nikki Grossberg, Child and Family Services Division Deputy Administrator
In addition to meeting our standard selection criteria, invited grant applications for this initiative will be evaluated according the the following criteria:
- The volume of prenatal and postpartum care provided at the practice or hospital.
- The prevalence of perinatal behavioral health issues in the population served.
- A commitment to the grant project by organizational leadership.
- When clinical services are involved in the grant, there must be a clinical service plan with a robust continuum of care that includes mental health, substance use disorders, and specialty consultation.
- Engagement of new and existing partners, when needed, to use resources more effectively and strengthen the business and sustainability of the programming that we fund.
About the Opportunity
Grant funding and technical assistance is currently available for prenatal practices that would like to participate in the initiative. Prenatal care providers that see Medicaid patients (including family practitioners, obstetricians, midwives, and rural hospitals) are encouraged to apply. All project applications are by invitation only.
The next grant opportunity will open this fall. We will be awarding grants of up to $150,000 for two-year projects. Supplemental funds may be available to help practices with full implementation of care coordination and outcome tracking, or for implementation across a larger network of providers.
All potential grantees should familiarize themselves with the Meadowlark Initiative System of Care.
The Meadowlark Initiative Sites
Click a location to view the contact information for each site:
List of Grantee Sites
Benefis Health System
Blackfeet Tribal Health
Community Hospital of Anaconda
Community Medical Center
Holy Rosary Healthcare
One Health – Big Horn County
One Health – Blaine County
One Health – Rosebud County
One Health – Fergus County
Providence Montana Health
Sidney Health Center
St. James Healthcare
St. Luke Community Healthcare
St. Peter’s Health
St. Vincent Healthcare