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Getting Payment Right

Getting Payment Right: How to Unlock High-Value Care Through Appropriate Birth Center Reimbursement

Interest in birth centers is growing rapidly among system stakeholders in response to evidence showing improved outcomes and reduced costs with birth center care. Enhancing access to birth center care is a strategy that could serve multiple policy aims, including addressing health disparities, providing primary maternity care access in maternity care "deserts," and reducing cesarean and preterm birth rates and costs at the population level. However, as most current payment systems do not align payment with high-value care, inconsistent and inadequate fees and payment systems serve as a barrier to the growth and integration of the birth center model. This report outlines the birth center model of care, provides an in-depth analysis of the birth center payment system, and presents guidance to birth centers, payers/purchasers, and health systems to ensure equitable access to and financial viability of the birth center model.

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