Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a final report from vital statistics (birth certificate) data. Unlike the preliminary reports, the final data provides data in great detail and is accompanied by reports breaking down birth data by state, racial and ethnic group, gestational age, mode of birth, and other factors.
A recent Issue Brief from the Commonwealth Fund highlights a multi-state collaboration to improve pre- and inter-conception health for women insured by Medicaid.
A recent Issue Brief from the Commonwealth Fund highlights a multi-state collaboration to improve pre- and inter-conception health for women insured by Medicaid. The Louisiana Birth Outcomes Initiative, a cross-departmental, public–private effort to improve the outcomes of Louisiana’s births, was one of the participating state programs. This state-wide initiative used the same multi-stakeholder process employed by Childbirth Connection to develop the Blueprint for Action.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all new health insurance plans in the individual and small group markets, including qualified health plans sold through health insurance exchanges, provide at least the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) package. The ACA identifies a core set of ten categories to be included in the EHB, one of which is maternity and newborn care. For most categories, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not specified what must be covered; the Department issued a pre-rule bulletin allowing states to select their EHB package from a list of options.
The National Partnership for Women & Families and Childbirth Connection urge states to use the guidelines below in selecting an EHB package to ensure the coverage will provide sufficient quality maternity care.
This year, World Breastfeeding Week coincides with a major milestone for mothers: on August 1, the women’s preventive health provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go into full effect. Every new insurance policy will now begin covering breastfeeding equipment and lactation support services without co-pays.
Back in April, Carol Sakala wrote about the new and continuing perinatal and reproductive health quality measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum. The final Technical Report on the set of NQF-endorsed measures is now available.
You can get from New Jersey to Maryland in less than an hour, but despite the proximity, New Jersey hospitals, on average, charge 3-4 times more than Maryland hospitals for both vaginal and cesarean births. This is just one of the notable facts gleaned from Childbirth Connection’s analyses of the latest maternity charges data. Although the data do not show whether higher charges reflect better care, researchers who look at price variation generally find no relation between prices and the quality of care, complexity of patient care needs, or costs of actually delivering care. Such unwarranted price variation amounts to billions in wasted spending across the health care system, according to a February report from Thomson Reuters that looked at various hospital procedures.
New charts compiled by Childbirth Connection (PDF) show the significant price variation across states that report average labor and birth hospital charges to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). The chart set also includes average prices charged by birth centers, which fall well below charges for uncomplicated vaginal births in hospitals. State-by-state analyses (PDF) show charges increasing year-to-year, and reveal differences by mode of birth and presence or absence of complications.
On March 31, the eve of Cesarean Awareness Month, the National Health Policy Forum addressed the rising rate of cesarean section in the United States. The Forum is a non-partisan organization that offers educational programming and other health policy resources to congressional and federal agency staff.
Caesar’s Ghost: The Effect of the Rising Rate of C-Sections on Health Care Costs and Quality, explored the drivers and consequences of the increasing c-section rate and public- and private-sector initiatives to achieve a more optimal rate. Forum presenters included:
- Maureen Corry, who presented results of Childbirth Connection’s Cesarean Evidence Project and the Listening to Mothers surveys and shared recent national data on cesarean and VBAC rates, average hospital charges for cesarean and vaginal births, and cost comparisons across industrialized countries. Her presentation also reviewed progress on key recommendations from the TMC Blueprint for Action.
- Jeff Thompson, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the Washington State Medicaid Program, who presented about the state’s multiple strategies to reduce cesarean section. These include licensing and reimbursing fees for birth centers and Certified Professional Midwives and testing payment reforms to penalize early elective deliveries and incentivize VBAC.
- Andréa Caballero Dilweg, from Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR), who shared purchaser strategies from CPR’s Payment Reform Toolkit and Maternity Care Special Initiative.
- Frank Mazza, MD, Chief Patient Safety Officer at Seton Healthcare Family in Austin, TX, who discussed Seton’s award-winning perinatal safety program that reduced birth injuries, instrumental vaginal deliveries, and NICU admissions without increasing the use of c-section.
Earlier this year, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced Strong Start, a major federal initiative to improve birth outcomes among Medicaid enrollees. (Letters of Intent are now due May 11, 2012.) The initiative includes a funding opportunity for three innovative models of prenatal care delivery that show promise for reducing preterm births. Two of the three models have national organizations that define and promote them: group prenatal care models like CenteringPregnancy and prenatal care in birth centers, a model promoted by the American Association of Birth Centers. The third model has left some people scratching their heads: Maternity Care Homes. What is a Maternity Care Home and, more importantly, what changes do practices have to make to become one?
The purpose of this article is to foster awareness and discussion about Maternity Care Homes and to encourage Strong Start applicants to advance this model. The article will answer common questions about Maternity Care Homes, with an emphasis on implementation. If you have other questions, please leave them in the comments.
We are very pleased to join the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and several other public and private partners to launch Strong Start, an initiative to improve maternity care outcomes. Yesterday, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, announced the initiative at the Family Health and Birth Center in Washington, DC.
Building a system that reliably provides Maternity Care with a Heart requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Childbirth Connection has just launched a fundraising campaign asking our supporters to pitch in $14 for Maternity Care With a Heart in Honor of Valentine’s Day. Your support will help us have the most impact at this time of unprecedented opportunity to make change. Here are 14 new and ongoing projects your donations will help support in 2012.