Steve Calvin M.D. on pregnancy care, health care reform, and innovation

Medicaid and Maternity Care

The 2012 election includes vigorous debate about the best way to provide high value health care.  I believe that health care reform should start where we all did – with pregnancy and birth.  The largest payer for pregnancy services is government at the federal, state, and local levels.  Forty percent of all pregnancy care is funded by the community.  Mothers and babies receiving care (and those contributing their tax dollars) deserve a better system.

Everyone has an opinion.  The best place to start is with reliable information on where we are now.  An excellent starting point is the recent study done by Optuminsight, an affiliate of United Health Care:  http://www.optuminsight.com/resources/browse/articles/the-high-cost-of-adverse-birth-outcomes-in-medicaid-programs/

Natalie Ellertson, VP of Clinical Performance Improvements for Optuminsight, comments that, “Medicaid agencies and their managed care partners should invest in provider-driven care management systems and programs, working especially with providers in community health centers”.   Amen to that.  We are in the midst of developing these options here in Minnesota.  The major problem is institutional inertia.  Nevertheless, I am an optimist and I believe that major positive change is in the offing.