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Our Work The Meadowlark Initiative

Integrating prenatal and behavioral health to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes

The Meadowlark Initiative brings a new standard of pregnancy care to the state by offering routine screening and treatment for substance use disorders as part of prenatal and postpartum care.

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 brings together clinical and community teams to:

  • Provide the right care at the right time for patients and their families
  • Improve maternal and family outcomes
  • Reduce newborn drug exposure, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and perinatal complications
  • Keep families together and children out of foster care

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.

Online Grantee Community

As of September 2020, Meadowlark sites screened nearly 6,000 pregnant women for substance use disorders.

Most counties with the first Meadowlark sites had a reduction in infant removal rates that averaged 40%.

“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

Funding Opportunity

Selection Criteria

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
Bozeman Health
Community Hospital of Anaconda
Community Medical Center
Holy Rosary Healthcare
Logan Health
Livingston 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


Need assistance?

Marias Quammen
Program Assistant