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Team Including S.C. BlueCross Facilitates Improved Birth Outcomes, Cost Savings in State

November 07, 2013

Columbia, S.C. – A case study released today by the Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) with support from the Milbank Memorial Fund shares the story of South Carolina’s Birth Outcomes Initiative (BOI), a unique program in the nation that has reduced early elective births, decreased premature birth hospitalization, and saved expenditures.

The case study, found at www.catalyzepaymentreform.org/images/documents/birthoutcomes.pdf, chronicles how South Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS), BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, and other stakeholders partnered to engage providers in quality improvement activities, and then agreed to stop paying for early elective deliveries — those occurring before 39 weeks gestation.
The case study reports that the South Carolina BOI has reduced unwarranted early-elective inductions by 50 percent, decreased neonatal intensive care unit admissions and saved the SCDHHS more than $6 million in just the first quarter of 2013. South Carolina is the first state in the nation in which the private and public sectors have collaborated to establish a policy of nonpayment for early elective deliveries.

“We are seeing fewer incidences of complications with lung development, lower birth weight, and failure to thrive,” said Dr. Laura Long, MD, MPH, BlueCross’ chief medical officer and vice president of clinical innovation.
Early elective deliveries are associated with worse health outcomes for infants and mothers and cause higher health care costs.  

Catalyst for Payment Reform (www.catalyzepaymentreform.org) is an independent, nonprofit corporation working on behalf of large employers and other health care purchasers to catalyze improvements in payment of health services and promote higher value care in the United States.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., and operating in South Carolina for more than 65 years, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 40 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, other insurance and employee benefits services, and a philanthropic foundation that funds programs to improve health care and access to health care for South Carolinians.

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