Maine: The Bridging Program - Getting Babies the Medical Care They Need

Too many babies in Washington County, Maine, are born prematurely or are born with drugs in their systems. These children are more likely to have health problems, need special medical care, and visit the emergency room. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MeCDC) used a portion of its Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funding to create the Bridging Program to meet the complicated needs of premature babies, babies with health problems, and babies who are born with drugs in their systems.

MeCDC’s Bridging Program offers each baby and family an individualized plan for support and services that addresses the family’s needs and concerns. The families develop close relationships with program staff members, called “bridgers.” Bridgers help a family manage all of the aspects of care needed to improve their baby’s health, including access to early intervention services such as home visiting programs, nursing support, physical therapy appointments, and parent education.

The Bridging Program has helped many Washington County babies stay healthy. The program reduced the amount of time newborns spent in the hospital after birth by almost a week, and it decreased how often they were brought back to the hospital for care during their first few months of life. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has identified the Bridging Program as a promising practice—a program that saves lives, saves money, and is a model that other health departments can follow.

PHHS Block Grant funds are supporting a valuable program to save babies’ lives in Washington County. They are also advancing public health nationwide by using an exemplary approach for providing special infant medical care.

Story year: 2015

Photo: Mother and a baby

PHHS Block Grant funding helped support Maine’s Bridging Program, which provides healthcare services to babies in Washington County.

Page last reviewed: April 17, 2018