South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative Celebrates Success
South Carolina celebrates the achievement of reducing the number of early labor inductions by half and decreasing the number of babies in neonatal intensive care units. In the first quarter of 2013, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports saving over $6 million through the initiative. Babies born before the mother is 39 weeks pregnant are associated with higher rates of low birth weight and infant mortality. The South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative asked all of the state’s hospitals to sign agreements in 2011 to reduce elective early inductions. Covering approximately 85% of births in the state the South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the state’s Medicaid agency and Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina stopped paying for early elective labor inductions. Additionally, incentives are provided for screening pregnant women for risk factors that include substance abuse, domestic violence and depression. The Birth Outcomes Initiative is a partnership between the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, the South Carolina Hospital Association and the March of Dimes.
In October of 2013, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control published the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Plan to Reduce Infant Mortality and Premature Births. The report includes five recommended strategies for South Carolina to implement in order to achieve goals related to maternal and child health. The strategies include improving access to systems of care for women before, during and after pregnancy, promoting the use of evidence-based patient practices by health care providers and families, promoting health across the lifespan, developing data systems and eliminating health disparities and promoting health equity. In January of 2012, an Infant Mortality Summit was held in New Orleans to bring together regions of the country that have the highest rates of infant mortality. A team of seven professionals from South Carolina attended the summit and signed onto the 2011 ASTHO President’s Challenge, a partnership to improve birth outcomes by reducing infant mortality and prematurity in the United State with a goal of reducing premature births by 8% by 2014.
Click on the following link to access the full report: Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Plan to Reduce Infant Mortality and Premature Births
Click on the following link to access an article featuring the Birth Outcomes Initiative in The State Newspaper: SC Early Birth Initiative Pays Off in Multiple Ways