Signature Medical Group’s Strong Start program has received a prestigious award for its efforts and success in transforming maternity care for pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries.
The Maternal, Child and Family Health Coalition, newly renamed Generate Health, honored both the Signature Strong Start program and its director Maribeth Hollinshead with the Dr. Corrine Walentik Provider Award at the Standing Up for Mothers and Babies annual dinner on Oct. 20 at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis.
Signature Medical Group was awarded a Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns grant in 2013 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Signature’s Strong Start program, developed through the grant, has helped more than 2,500 women from the St. Louis, Kansas City and Bolivar communities in Missouri.
Signature’s Strong Start program addresses all aspects of a woman’s health, including physical, mental, and environmental aspects. The interdisciplinary team includes a nurse navigator, master’s level social workers, and OB/GYN doctors and staff collaborating to coordinate care to address the unique needs of each patient. Social workers meet with patients to identify mental health and social needs that impact pregnancy outcomes.
With more than 1,100 babies delivered under the Signature Strong Start program to date, preterm births have been reduced by 20 percent, saving Missouri between $10 to $15 million per 1,000 patients.
Neonatal intensive care unit admissions have fallen by 24 percent as more mothers are aided by entering prenatal care earlier.
The award was presented in honor of Dr. Corrine Walentik, who was recognized in the St. Louis area as a passionate advocate of babies and families, particularly those with few resources.
Hollinshead, an RN, has been instrumental in developing and implementing the program to be a sustainable maternity care home model that comprehensively addresses the needs of pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries.
She has had more than 30 years of experience caring for expectant mothers in multiple settings, including inpatient labor and delivery, outpatient high-risk maternal fetal medicine, low-risk OB/GYN offices and as the nurse educator and director of women’s services at St. Anthony’s Medical Center.
Hollinshead leads a passionate, determined, and dedicated group of highly skilled individuals that are the “Change Makers and Life Savers” within Signature Medical Group. The team includes Jennie Oberkrom as the clinical program coordinator and prenatal care coordinators: Heather Welch, Meghan Bragers, Christine Barr, and Kimberly Choate.
The support staff includes: Nicole Durel, program coordinator; Betsy Engle, medical writer; and Alycia Hollinshead, data support.
The Signature Strong Start program is a physician-led program and without the OB/GYN physician and clinical staff support, the program successes would not be possible. All of Signature’s OB/GYN offices have participated in the program including: Allied Associates, Genesis, Healthcare Group for Women, Ob/Gyn Physician Group, and Women’s Health Partners in St. Louis; Independence Women’s Clinic and Northland Ob/Gyn in Kansas City; and Bolivar Ob/Gyn in Bolivar, Missouri.
Hollinshead was humbled by the honor, saying she was grateful for the support of her family, mentors, leadership team, and coworkers.
“We are at a pivotal moment in time where we are gaining momentum and a time where following our passion and maintaining our determination can propel us to new heights. We are being challenged to be innovative and to stay true to our mission to improve outcomes for moms and babies by addressing all of their needs, especially their psychosocial needs ’’ she said, adding “We have a duty to advocate for our most vulnerable population.’’