Johns Hopkins Awarded $2 Million Grant to Reduce Preterm Births
The federal government has awarded the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine a $2 million grant to advance methods of preventing premature births. Johns Hopkins is one of only 27 hospitals nationwide awarded this grant by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The grants are part of a $41.4 million, four-year initiative called the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns.
"This initiative will help us find new ways to 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 and delivery and over the first year of life for children," says Andrew J. Satin, M.D., FACOG, director of the Hopkins gyn/ob department and chair of the Medical Board at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. "These women and their babies require intensive resources, and this initiative will help us create seamless, enhanced prenatal care for those at high risk at all JHM-affiliated sites."
Every year in Maryland alone, the March of Dimes notes, an estimated 13 percent of babies are born premature. Preterm birth, defined as the birth of a baby of less than 37 weeks gestational age, occurs at a time when infants' brains and lungs are at a critical stage of development.
According to HHS, the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns award is designed to help recipient medical centers improve prenatal care for high-risk pregnant women and newborns in the areas with the highest preterm birth rates in the country. The Strong Start effort, part of the new Affordable Care Act, is designed to serve 80,000 women enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) over a three-year period in 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Satin adds that the Johns Hopkins Coordinated Antenatal Service Enhancement (J-CASE) will lead his department’s efforts among the Medicaid population of East Baltimore. The initiative will focus on improved communication among Hopkins entities that provide care and services to pregnant women, and will coordinate all prenatal care through care coordinators embedded in each of the prenatal clinics at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center and the Johns Hopkins Community Physicians (JHCP) East Baltimore Medical Center.
The grants will also provide for prenatal group visits, expand access to care and provide psychosocial support to expectant mothers.
"The role of case managers will be expanded so that all patients, even those without traditional high-risk factors for preterm birth, will have a designated case manager available at their prenatal visits to facilitate procurement of any needed community resources," says Satin. "The goal is to avoid gaps in care, reduce redundancies and improve the quality and experience of prenatal care."
HHS says some 500,000 infants are born prematurely in the United States annually, a public health issue with significant long-term consequences for both families and children. Children born preterm require costly medical attention, often require early intervention services and special education and can develop conditions that may affect their health and productivity as adults. The estimated total cost of preterm birth in the United States annually is approximately $26 billion dollars.
Obstetrics and Gynecology at Johns Hopkins Bayview
Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns Initiative/Department of Health and Human Services