School of Public Health

Idaho Focuses on Prenatal Care

July 2016

Title V Maternal and Child Health Program | Division of Public Health

Increased access to prenatal care is considered a top priority for Idaho. Last year, the state Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program conducted a comprehensive needs assessment to determine Idaho’s MCH priorities. As part of the assessment, the program surveyed the general population, MCH consumers, and primary care providers. The program also conducted key informant interviews and convened stakeholders from local public health districts, hospitals, Medicaid, and the parents of children with special health care needs. Results from respondents ranked prenatal care as one of the state’s top priorities. Leadership from the MCH Program and the Division of Public Health agreed 1 and chose prenatal care as the priority of focus for the women and maternal health population.

Prenatal care is part of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s (MCHB) National Performance Measure (NPM) of well-woman health care2. This measure (NPM #1), the “Well-Woman Visit,” is one of 15 the MCHB will use to monitor the health of the nation over the next 5 years.  Idaho’s focus on increasing access and assuring high quality prenatal care is intended to benefit both women and infants, in keeping with the goal of NPM #1 to “increase the number of women who have a preventive medical visit.”3 

Statewide Health Care Innovation

By July 2020, Idaho plans to increase the number of women who access routine well-woman care, including first-trimester prenatal care. Currently women in Idaho are 14% less likely than their national counterparts to receive preventive health services.4 The state has already begun to work toward this goal by improving primary care quality and accessibility through the Statewide Healthcare Innovation Plan (SHIP) grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid.  

Enhance Preventive Care and Prenatal Education

Idaho will leverage the efforts of existing MCH programs to enhance preventive well-woman care, prenatal care education, and referrals. Beginning in December 2016, the MCH Program will meet with Idaho’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), and the Title X Family Planning Program to examine current preventive education efforts, referral processes and data collection. Together these programs will develop coordinated strategies to educate and link women to routine care, including prenatal health services.

For more information about the IDHW MCH Program plan to improve well-woman care in Idaho, please contact Jacquie Watson, MCH Program Manager at


  1. State of Idaho. Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant. 2015.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.<a href=">Women's Preventive Guidelines.2014.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.Federally Available Data Resource Document. 2015.
  4. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Division of Public Health. Idaho Behavioral Risk Factors 2013: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. 2013.