Signature maternity care leaders speak to Medicaid conference

Signature Medical Group presented its Maternity Care Home Model at the Medicaid Managed Care Congress May 22-24 in Baltimore.

Maribeth Hollinshead, program director and nurse navigator, and Jennie Oberkrom, the clinical program coordinator, gave a 30-minute joint presentation at the conference, which featured more than 300 state, healthcare and pharmaceutical executives from across the nation.

Their presentation centered on the positive effects the program, which integrates behavioral health into maternity care for expectant mothers on Medicaid.

Maribeth Hollinshead

In their presentation, Hollinshead and Oberkrom highlighted the maternity care model’s top three accomplishments:

  • Improved outcomes for mothers and their babies.
  • Improved experience for mothers in maternity care.
  • Reduced costs for Medicaid.

Implemented three years ago as Signature’s Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns, the program has produced 1,500 Medicaid-covered births. Preterm births have been reduced by 16 percent and the C-section rate by 21 percent compared with historical data. Use of the neonatal intensive care unit has decreased by 25 percent compared with other Medicaid patients in Missouri.

Jennie Oberkrom

In addition, patients in the program entered prenatal care an average of two weeks earlier, leading to healthier outcomes for the mother and baby. And 95 percent of patients would recommend the program to other expectant moms.

As for cost, it’s estimated that the maternity care home model has saved Missouri $10 to $15 million per 1,000 patients.

“The improved prenatal outcomes demonstrate the impact of addressing physical, mental, and social needs during maternity care for pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries,’’  Hollinshead said.

Added Oberkrom: “Through our Maternity Care Home Model, patients received coordinated care for all aspects of maternal health. By including master’s level social workers as essential members of the OB/GYN care team, patient stress was decreased, psychosocial needs were addressed, and pregnancy outcomes were improved.’’

Hollinshed told the conference that the program has made a big impact on its participants. “Ultimately, our sustainable model is breaking down barriers to healthcare, providing a support system for pregnant women, and improving maternal and child health,’’ she said.