Why Supporting Care Matching Matters

The need to support care matching stems from real, documented disparities in health outcomes for BIPOC and other underrepresented groups. Latinx and Black women are three times more likely to suffer from complications during childbirth, and Black women are two to three times more likely than White women to die from five medical complications that are common causes of maternal death. The differences also extend to sexual identity and mental health, as LGBTQI+ individuals are over 30% and 23% more likely to feel hopeless or consider suicide, respectively. 

There’s mounting evidence that many of these disparities are alleviated when patients and providers share the same backgrounds. A Stanford University study pairing Black patients and doctors identified several benefits to matching, including:

  • More engaged patient-doctor conversations
  • Improved prescription adherence 
  • More detailed note taking by practitioners 
  • Greater willingness to undergo preventative treatment
  • Better patient understanding of health risks and complications

At a recent Maven webinar, providers shared their own personal and professional anecdotes about care matching’s importance.

“When I was looking for a therapist in the postpartum period, I couldn’t find one that looked like me or even related to what I was going through,” said Nicole Woodcox Bolden, LCSW, a Maven mental health provider and cofounder of Thriving With a Baby. In response to that challenge, Bolden started her company, an online community where families can share information on creating their own path to parenthood. “I got into this to be a changemaker...My journey here came from my own experience,” Bolden said. 

“To me, health equity is about making sure each patient gets the care they need,” said Kathleen Green, M.D., OB-GYN at the University of Florida. “I get patients all the time that ask, is it okay to ask for a Black or Hispanic OB-GYN or doula? Absolutely. That’s what health equity is...We’re not there yet, but that’s what everyone deserves,” Green said.

As mentioned by Green, patients and doctors seldom match this way organically. Combined, Latinx and Black doctors account for just 11% of all physicians in the US. Only about 3% identify as LGBTQI+.

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Maven and Care Matching

Maven is the only global family benefit that integrates advocacy, telehealth, educational content, payments, and breast milk shipping in one solution. We understand how critical provider diversity is to supporting the diverse needs of our members — and we built our network of obstetrician-gynecologists, genetic counselors, midwives, pediatricians, doulas and other specialists with that in mind. 

Taken from a recent survey, here’s a snapshot of Maven’s provider network demographics:

  • 38% of providers identify as Latinx, Black, Asian, or Middle Eastern
  • 96% identify as women  
  • 8% identify as LGBTQI+
  • Providers speak 30 different languages, including Spanish, French, Hindi, and Hebrew.

Among the 350+ specialties and subspecialties represented by our network, our diversity shines brightest in mental health — a practice that’s historically struggled with diversity the most. Over 40% of Maven’s mental health specialists identify as Black. In comparison, Black specialists account for just 5% of the mental health workforce in the US.

Maven’s provider network is also uniquely suited to serve LGBTQI+ families. Beyond our demographics, over 40 of our providers have strong clinical expertise working with LGBTQI+ patients, helping them navigate mental health, adoption, surrogacy, and other paths to parenthood. The need for these services has only grown in recent years, with nearly two-thirds of LGBTQI+ millennials currently considering becoming first-time parents.

Maven’s providers are also positioned to serve other dimensions of diversity, including faith. In a Maven provider network survey, respondents indicated they had clinical expertise in faith-based care for Muslim, Hindu, and Mormon patients. For example, it’s not uncommon for some Muslim patients to request care from a provider of the same sex or other accommodations to maintain modesty. As a supplement to providers not belonging to these faiths, Maven offers additional training on cultural sensitivity and competency.

Care matching promotes greater trust and understanding between doctors and patients, leading to better health outcomes. That’s why Maven offers matching to the members we support and why the majority (80%) of our care provider network participates.

At Maven, we believe whole-person care means putting the whole person into account, including their story, background, and culture. By doing so, our inclusive approach to women’s and family care delivers better outcomes and lower costs for everyone. If you are a Maven member and want to be matched with a provider based on specific demographic or cultural background, reach out to your Care Advocate. To learn more about how we can connect your employees to more empathetic care, contact our team today.

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