For many people, the new year brings open enrollment periods for health benefits. Provisions in the Affordable Care Act (health care reform) that went into effect last August will catch up with many more Americans as the new health plan year begins. Most notably, more and more of us will benefit from access to preventive health services with no copays. All new plans will now provide coverage for breastfeeding support and supplies, gestational diabetes screening, and domestic violence screening and counseling, along with other services like well woman visits and contraception.
Childbirth Connection and the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation are seeking women who have given birth within the past 2 years to appear in video segments of an online shared decision making guide. We are specifically seeking women who were told before the birth that their baby weighed at least 8 pounds, 13 ounces and who discussed induction of labor with their care providers due to the baby’s size. We want to talk to women who did choose induction of labor as well as those who decided to wait for labor to start on its own. At this time, we are seeking women who did not have any pregnancy complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or a breech baby.
In the pipeline: Get ready for a flurry of landmark reports and resources to transform maternity care
Childbirth Connection’s 95-year history includes many landmark reports and resources that have shaped maternity care and galvanized needed progress. It may seem like things have been quiet on that front for a while, but that’s about to change, just in time for our 95th birthday.
Get ready for a flurry of resources to help transform maternity care. We’ve been hard at work to produce these new reports and will soon make them freely available for all stakeholders to use to help push for high-quality, high-value maternity care.
Here’s what’s in the pipeline and the estimated date of delivery (EDD) for each:
Sign-up Now for October 10 Webinar on New National Goals and Strategies to Reduce Early Elective Delivery and Cesarean Section in Low-Risk Women
Over the last nine months, the Maternity Action Team, comprised of nearly 30 public and private organizations, has set aspirational goals and worked on the development and implementation of a plan to reduce elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks to 5% or less and reduce cesarean section in low-risk women to 15% or less. This effort is focused on three key strategies: 1) Increasing uptake of The Joint Commission perinatal core measure set; 2) Implementing hard-stop policies and checklists; and 3) Aligning consumer and provider messaging.
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.