CHA News Article

CMS Initiative Focuses on Improved Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes
Will provide states with incentive payments to voluntarily report on select quality measures

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today released an informational bulletin describing opportunities for states to collaborate with the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) on a new national initiative to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in Medicaid and CHIP. The Maternal and Infant Health Initiative leverages existing partnerships and activities to: 1) increase by 10 percent the rate of postpartum visits among pregnant women in Medicaid and CHIP in at least 20 states over a three-year period, and 2) increase by 15 percent the use of effective contraception methods in Medicaid and CHIP in at least 20 states over a three-year period.

“Recognizing the urgency presented by our nation’s poor birth outcomes, CMCS is experiencing a unique time in this nation’s history in which the federal and state governments, maternal and infant health advocacy groups and provider groups are working in tandem to improve perinatal outcomes and reduce disparities,” CMS stated in the bulletin. “As the payer for at least half of all births in the U.S., Medicaid and CHIP have an important role to play.”

Through the initiative, CMCS will promote payment, program and coverage policies that enhance the accessibility and delivery of effective and timely postpartum care. CMCS will provide technical assistance to support state Medicaid agencies in implementing reimbursement and related policy changes to achieve these goals. CMCS will also provide technical assistance to states that seek to improve health coverage for women — before and after pregnancy — using existing coverage options, expansion opportunities and new delivery models. To determine a baseline and to assess progress toward the goals, states will be invited to voluntarily report on two quality measures: 1) the measure for Postpartum Care from the Medicaid Adult Core Set, and 2) a developmental measure on Contraception Service Utilization. To report on the measures, states will use the CARTS web-based data submission tool that is used for the Medicaid Adult Core Set measures. Baseline data for the initiative will be reportable with 2013 submissions, due by January 31, 2015. To facilitate reporting, CMCS will make available an incentive payment to states that choose to participate.

Over the next several months, CMCS will host a series of webinars to provide more information about the initiative and review the performance measures that will be used to track the collective progress toward improving outcomes. To learn more, visit the CMCS maternal and infant health quality website.