CLEVELAND -- The Governor's Office of Health Transformation awarded MetroHealth Medical Center with a $395,170 grant to help reduce lengthy hospital stays and promote improved health outcomes for mothers who are addicted to heroin or other opiates, and their newborn babies.

The award is part of the Maternal Opiate Medical Support (M.O.M.S.) initiative. Studies have shown that is unsafe for pregnant women to taper off opiates due to concerns over potential stillbirth. The drug Subutex has been associated with less neonatal dependency than methadone and has shorted the extended hospital stays of exposed newborns by more than one-third. As a result, the pilot program is expected to lead to fewer admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit for 125 women and babies enrolled in the program over the course of the grant.

On average Metro treats one hundred addicted pregnant women a year. The program will help these women not only get physical care needed for pregnancy and delivery, but also drug addiction treatment and additional resources such as transitional housing and day care.

The pilot program was also helped by a $35,000 grant from the March Of Dimes.