Funds Awarded to Test New Approaches to Prenatal Care

By Natasha Robinson, MPCA Communications Specialist

Two Michigan organizations have been awarded funding through the Affordable Care Act to test new approaches to prenatal care that could impact Health Center patients. The Strong Start effort is a four-year initiative to test and evaluate enhanced prenatal care interventions for women enrolled in Medicaid who are at risk for having a preterm birth.

Allegiance Health in Jackson is operating under the Strong Start Award to Meridian Health Plan of $249,939 testing the Maternity Care Home Approach. This approach of enhanced prenatal care includes psychosocial support, education and health promotion in addition to traditional prenatal care. Services provided will expand access to care, improve care coordination and provide a broader array of health services.

St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit and Providence Hospital in Southfield are operating under the Strong Start Award to St. John Community Health Investment Corp. of $262,731 testing the Group/Centering Approach. The group/centering approach incorporates peer-to-peer interaction in a facilitated setting for health assessment, education and psychosocial support.

The areas were identified as having some of the highest preterm birth rates in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are helping communities across the country improve prenatal care for expectant mothers so that they can have a healthy delivery and a healthy baby,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Strong Start initiative will help find ways to reduce the rate of preterm births, which is a public health problem with significant long-term consequences for families and children.”

The goal of the initiative is to determine if these approaches to care can reduce the rate of preterm births, improve the health outcomes of pregnant women and newborns, and decrease the anticipated total cost of medical care during pregnancy, delivery and over the first year of life for children born to mothers using Medicaid.


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