Case Study: Improving Access and Quality of Maternal and Infant Services in Rural Iowa

Case Study: Improving Access and Quality of Maternal and Infant Services in Rural Iowa through a Regional Center of Excellence

St. Anthony Regional Hospital Carroll, Iowa

Rising costs and a shortage of health care providers make access to services challenging, especially in rural communities. These and other factors contribute to disparities in care and outcomes. Iowa is not immune from the health care challenges occurring nationally. Health care the way it exists today may not be sustainable. This presents an opportunity to create a more integrated, coordinated system based on the needs of the state and local communities, promoting the health and wellness of every citizen.

Fifty of Iowa’s 99 counties provide obstetric (OB) services, and the number of hospitals with OB doctors on staff has decreased over the last several years. Since 2000, 42 Iowa hospitals have closed OB services due to a declining population and an inability to recruit and retain physicians willing or able to provide OB care.

St. Anthony Regional Hospital, Carroll, Iowa is an independent 99-bed hospital founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) and sponsored by the St. Anthony Ministries. It serves about 71,500 people over six counties (Audubon, Calhoun, Carroll, Crawford, Greene and Sac) in west central Iowa.

The 2019 County Health Rankings find the counties in the St. Anthony service area ranging from a ranking of 12th in Carroll County to 91st in Crawford County out of 99 Iowa counties. Furthermore, only three hospitals within a 45-mile radius of St. Anthony provide obstetric (OB) and maternal services. This lack of access contributes to poor outcomes and protracted physical and behavioral health issues for both mothers and infants.

View the detailed study below.