There is no one formula to determine the costs of creating and maintaining maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs); they receive support and funding from various sources. Though some MMRCs have legislated state funding, most MMRCs rely on limited funding from the Title V MCH Services Block Grant administered by the state health department. Additional funding sources include state funds, special grants, or initiative funds. Private organizations, such as philanthropic groups, foundations, and advocacy groups, can also serve as funding sources. MMRCs are compelled to be creative and resourceful in securing funds for their work.
The cost of performing a maternal mortality review is contingent upon a state’s infrastructure, the number of maternal deaths that occur in each year, the scope of the committee, and the extent of information abstracted. Individuals who wish to establish a review must consider funding sources. Costs to consider include:
- Committee administrative support staff include:
- Case abstractors: While some case abstractors volunteer their time, most do not. Case abstractors may be paid as a percentage of their salary, or they may receive hourly compensation. Based on conversations with review committees, each individual case requires approximately 8-15 hours of a case abstractor’s time.
- Committee coordinator/administrator, epidemiologist, and database manager: In nearly all jurisdictions, these are salaried roles that already exist in the home agency. An agreement among agency leadership allows for a certain percentage of staff time to be allocated or provided to the committee. In some cases, MMRCs with dedicated funding contract roles to a partner organization.
- Committee member compensation/incentives: Most jurisdictions do not pay committee members to participate in the review proceedings. However, they may reimburse travel costs to attend meetings, provide meals, or apply to be an accredited continuing medical education (CME) provider so committee members can receive CME credits through their participation.
- Printing and office supplies: MMRC meetings utilize a lot of paper. As such, printing and mailing costs should be included in an MMRC budget. The documents generated may include confidentiality agreements, case narratives, case review forms, and other handouts. The MMRC is also tasked with keeping key materials confidential and may invest in lockable briefcases, file cabinets, or web-based secure file storage and file transfer services that can be tracked in a virtual environment. The costs of server space for data storage, though very minimal, should also be considered.
- Disseminating findings and taking action: Convening partners to present the findings of the MMRC accelerates the implementation of the conclusions. Committees often overlook the funding required to disseminate findings (e.g. travel to present committee process and findings at professional conferences in and out of state) or the programmatic funding necessary to implement a key finding from the review into population-based action.