Ohio Medicaid Invests Nearly $3 Million in Projects Aimed at Combatting Infant Mortality in Cuyahoga County

In Gov. John Kasich’s last budget, Ohio allocated $26.8 million over two years to support community-driven proposals to combat infant mortality at the local level and enhance coordination among various agencies that provide care for women and infants at risk. Now, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) announces an investment of $2,960,000 in three community initiatives in Cuyahoga County to reduce infant mortality.

The 2014 Infant Mortality Data Report from the Ohio Department of Health showed slight improvement in the state’s infant mortality rate—6.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births compared with 7.4 in 2013. This rate, however, exceeds the national average of 5.96.

In collaboration with its five contracted managed care plans, ODM has engaged local leaders in nine Ohio counties—Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Stark, and Summit—to identify innovative projects that will connect women and infants to quality health care.

“This is a new approach to combatting infant mortality in Ohio,” said John McCarthy, ODM Director. “Rather than pursuing one-size-fits-all remedies that lack results, we are looking to initiatives that address the specific needs of individual communities.”

Through the First Year Cleveland initiative in Cuyahoga County, Ohio Medicaid awarded funding to support the following proposals:

  • The number of women participating in centering pregnancy programs at two Federally Qualified Health Centers will be increased to a total of 375. Four part-time program coordinators and four full-time midwives will be hired, and medical equipment and computers will be purchased to support this effort. Total funding amount: $760,000.
  • Through partnerships with MomsFirst, the Ohio Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative, and the Nurse Family Partnership and Doula programs, the capacity of home visiting programs will be increased in targeted communities to support approximately 800 pregnant women. Total funding amount: $2,000,000.
  • The Cuyahoga County Fatherhood Initiative will expand their Bootcamp for New Dads program to serve 600 fathers in the targeted communities. Total funding amount: $200,000.

ODM serves more than 3 million residents across Ohio.

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