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News & Press: AABC News

AABC Leads Successful National Grant Award with 48 Local Birth Center Sites

Friday, March 1, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kelly Shaw

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation announced that American Association of Birth Centers has been awarded a $5.35 million four year grant for the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns Initiative to measure outcomes and costs from enhanced prenatal care in birth centers for women enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP who are at risk of having a preterm birth. 

Preterm birth is estimated to cost over $26 billion per year and impacts close to 12% of all births in the United States. Preterm birth is associated with increased risk of lifelong health and developmental problems.  The preterm birth rate has increased by 36 percent in the last 20 years.

The birth center model of enhanced prenatal care program, known as AABC Strong Start in Birth Centers, will be evaluated in 48 birth center sites, located in 22 states across the US.  The initiative will test three evidence-based maternity care models that enhance current care delivery and address the medical, behavioral and psychosocial factors that may be present during pregnancy and may increase risk of preterm birth.  Strong start models are 1) birth center care 2) pregnancy home, and 3) group prenatal care.  Preterm birth is estimated to cost over $26 billion per year in the US and impacts close to 12% of US births.
Birth center maternity care is focused on the needs of the woman and her family, and is a time intensive relationship-based style of care.  Engaging the mother as a partner in her care is a key component, with evidence based care, care coordination, health education and emotional support. Birth center care is a collaborative practice, with teams of health professionals available for referral when needed.

"AABC is honored to have been chosen as one of the Strong Start grant awardees.  Freestanding Birth Centers have provided high quality care for mothers and babies for over 30 years.  Birth centers can be a part of our national solution to improving our maternal infant outcomes," said Jill Alliman, Project Director for AABC's Strong Start project.

A new study of outcomes of birth center care, the National Birth Center Study II, was published in January 2013.  Study data show superior outcomes for birth center mothers and babies with a 6% cesarean rate, and significant cost savings over the cost of hospital care.  Study authors estimated the savings from study participants in NBCS II of over $30 million. 

AABC is one of 27 awardees nationally, and one of two that will test the birth center model of care to reduce preterm births and improve maternal infant outcomes while measuring cost effectiveness of care.  More information is available on the Strong Start Initiative from the CMS Innovations Center.

University of Arkansas NORMES will provide data support to the Birth Center project, and will host the server for data collected from 11,000 Strong Start participants in birth center care over the three year grant course. 

About the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns Initiative
The Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns Initiative is an effort by HHS to reduce preterm births and improve outcomes for newborns and pregnant women. This initiative is a joint effort between the CMS, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) and is also supported by various programs across the multiple agencies of HHS. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMS Innovation Center) will administer these awards through cooperative agreements over four years.

About the American Association of Birth Centers
The American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) is a multi-disciplinary membership organization comprised of birth centers, and individuals and organizations that support the birth center concept including certified nurse midwives (CNMs), certified professional midwives (CPMs), physicians, nurses, women and their families. Founded in 1983, AABC is dedicated to developing quality holistic services for childbearing families that promote self-reliance and confidence in birth and parenting. AABC publishes materials on birth centers, sets national standards for birth center operation, and promotes state regulations for licensure and national accreditation by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers.

About the University of Arkansas Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, NORMES
The University of Arkansas via the Arkansas Health Outcomes Group (AHOG), combines the expertise of Eleanor Mann School of Nursing (EMSON) and the National Office of Research on Measurement and Evaluation Systems (NORMES) to provide methodological backing for this project that is both content specific and analytically robust. NORMES currently hosts the server holding the PDR (UDS) outcome data of AABC birth centers. NORMES has extensive experience housing, managing and analyzing large datasets and will provide programming and data management expertise that will allow for precise data collection and analysis for participant and comparison group data, under the supervision of Cara Osborne SD, MSN, CNM, acting director of AHOG and a member of the EMSON faculty. Dr. Osborne has both clinical midwifery experience and training in biostatistics and epidemiology making her uniquely suited to provide insightful analysis of the formative and summative measures gathered through the course of this project.

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