Kaiser gift to Georgia rural hospitals may help improve maternal mortality figures

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente has donated $60,000 to 10 rural hospitals in Georgia, the Coastal Courier reported March 23.

How the hospitals spend the money is up to them, but Kaiser used specific metrics to identify which hospitals might benefit the most from the donations, said Pam Shipley, president of Kaiser Permanente Georgia.

As well as behavioral health services, the funding could be used to help address Georgia's poor maternal mortality rates, ranked 49th overall and 50th for Black women, the report said.

"We've got many, many counties, over 75, without an OB-GYN," Ms. Shipley said. "A Black woman is three times more likely to suffer mortality than the national average."

Kaiser Permanente is Georgia's largest health plan, with 317,000 members in 28 metro Atlanta counties and four counties around Athens.

"When you think about a rural hospital closing, it's more than healthcare that is taken away there," Ms. Shipley said. "We believe providing programs and keeping these rural hospitals sustainable and moving is also directly related to thriving communities."

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