The last thing Mississippi needs is more bad health news. But it seems about to get it, as the state is poised to lose 82 social workers focused on women with high-risk pregnancies by the end of June. Inherently troubling, the development sounds especially damaging considering that Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate in the country.
What’s going on? The issue is fuzzy from news reports, but it appears that the high-risk pregnancy program had been housed in the state’s Department of Health until last December, when it moved to a managed-care program under the auspices of the Division of Medicaid. Now it seems the pregnancy program will be “managed” out of existence, laying off the social workers.
There’s probably more to the story, but on the face of it, this seems like a horrendously bad move. State health officer Dr. Mary Currier is reportedly working with Medicaid and legislators to get the program moved back under the Department of Health, in hopes of saving the program, the jobs, and, most importantly, a lot of babies at risk of early death. Let’s pray the good doctor succeeds.