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Our Work The Meadowlark Initiative®

Integrating prenatal care and behavioral health to improve outcomes for families.

The Meadowlark Initiative® integrates behavioral health screening and services, care coordination, and navigation to community resources with traditional prenatal and postpartum care to keep moms and babies healthy and families together.

As in many states, depression, anxiety, and substance use are common, serious health issues in Montana. Untreated mental illness and substance use have led to high rates of child removal in our state. We need to think differently about what health care during pregnancy includes and ensure we care for the patient as a whole person and their family.

Prenatal care clinics participating in The Meadowlark Initiative® deliver whole-person care to their patients and support their OB providers by bringing behavioral health expertise and care coordination into the prenatal and postpartum care teams.

The initiative supports providers in implementing universal screenings of pregnant women for anxiety, depression, substance use, and the social determinants of health like housing, childcare, and transportation. It also gives providers the peace of mind that a behavioral health provider and care coordinator are available to care for patients’ behavioral health needs and connect patients and their families to available community resources to support their social health.

Organizations participating in the initiative have demonstrated the powerful difference they can make for Montana families. A recent evaluation of the showed that Meadowlark sites have:

  • A higher-than-average percentage of women receive adequate prenatal care.
  • A lower-than-average percentage of premature births.
  • A decrease in infant removals.
  • An increase in universal screening for depression and substance use disorders.

The Meadowlark Initiative® is funded and supported through a partnership between the Montana Healthcare Foundation and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The Meadowlark Initiative® supports services to women in communities with 17 of the state’s 26 birthing facilities.

Of the 10,000 births in the state each year, 6,000 are supported by care from past or present Meadowlark grantees.

Read our 2022 Annual Report for more highlights!

Participating Sites

Click a map marker to view details for each past or present participating grantee site.

List of Grantee Sites

Benefis Health System
Blackfeet Tribal Health
Bozeman Health
Community Hospital of Anaconda
Community Medical Center
Holy Rosary Healthcare
Livingston HealthCare
Logan Health Medical Center
Northern Montana Health Services
Northern Montana Health Care
One Health – Big Horn County
One Health – Blaine County
One Health – Fergus County
One Health – Rosebud County
Providence Montana Health
Rocky Boy Health Board
Sidney Health Center
St. James Healthcare
St. Luke Community Healthcare
St. Peter’s Health
St. Vincent Healthcare

Learn More

Our Approach

Participation in The Meadowlark Initiative® supports grantees in implementing a new model of care tailored to meet each community’s needs and available resources. The model of care consists of integrating behavioral health into prenatal and postpartum care and coordinating patient care and available resources for patients and families through a care coordinator.

All patients are universally screened for anxiety, depression, substance use, and needs related to the social determinants of health.

  • If a patient has a positive screen or requests additional support for behavioral health issues, a behavioral health provider is available either during the same appointment or soon afterward to meet, assess the issue, and initiate any needed treatment.
  • If any social needs are identified – like health insurance enrollment or access to safe housing, reliable transportation, healthy food, and affordable childcare – the care coordinator will work with trusted local and state organizations to navigate each patient to resources that address these needs.
  • When concerns that might impact the health and safety of the mom or newborn are identified, care coordinators use The Meadowlark Initiative® Family Plan of Safe Care to help patients and families create a collaborative plan to address those issues.

This innovative model helps prenatal care providers better address depression, anxiety, substance use, and social issues that contribute to poor pregnancy and postpartum outcomes.

Our Support

This initiative provides funding and technical assistance to allow medical practices that provide prenatal and postpartum care to implement The Meadowlark Initiative® model of care, a coordinated, team-based approach that improves outcomes for women with substance use disorders and mental illness.

The initiative will support at least one prenatal practice in each Montana community with a hospital that delivers babies, with a special focus on ensuring that Native and rural communities have access to Meadowlark care. Prenatal care providers who see Medicaid patients (including family practitioners, obstetricians, midwives, and rural hospitals) are encouraged to apply.

All funding under this initiative is by invitation only.


If you have a question about this initiative,
please email our program team.