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March of Dimes - Rhode Island Chapter

220 West Exchange St. #003

Providence, RI  02903

(401) 454-1911

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    Five Practices chosen to participate in CenteringPregnancy Initiative

    Columbia, SC, January 25, 2013 —

    Medicaid Agency selects Five Obstetrics and Gynecology practices to participate in Patient Centering Initiative


    COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) along with the March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter announces that five Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Practices have been selected to participate in the newly-formed Patient Centering Initiative (PCI).  This initiative, using the CenteringPregnancyTM model of group prenatal care, is a component of the SCDHHS Birth Outcomes Initiative (BOI) whose primary goal is to reduce the number of low birth weight babies in South Carolina.

    “The BOI is aggressively addressing our state’s epidemic of low birth weight babies by implementing research-based programs such as the Patient Centering Initiative,” said SCDHHS director Tony Keck.

    CenteringPregnancyTM is a national model of group prenatal care maintained by the Centering Healthcare Institute (CHI) based in Boston, MA. CenteringPregnancy incorporates three major components: assessment, education and support. Group participants meet with their doctor and other centering group participants on a regular basis for a much longer period of time (usually 90-120 minutes) than a usual check-up visit. CenteringPregnancy promotes individual health empowerment and community-building.

    “CenteringPregnancy prenatal care provides a sense of ownership to pregnant patients, and creates opportunities for better education about pregnancy and parenting,” said March of Dimes spokesperson Jacki Apel.

    Each of these medical practices will receive funding from SCDHHS and the March of Dimes to train staff on how to conduct CenteringPregnancy, purchase educational materials and other program-related supplies.

    The award recipients include: AnMed Health Family Medicine Residency Program, Anderson, SC; Carolina OBGYN, Georgetown, SC; Sumter OBGYN, Sumter, SC; the University of South Carolina OBGYN Department, Columbia, SC; and the Medical University of South Carolina OBGYN Department, Charleston, SC. These recipients were selected by a five-member panel committee that evaluated each practice’s readiness to transition to group care, and the number of Medicaid patients they serve, among other criteria in accordance with those established by CHI.

    BOI Clinical lead and Greenville Health System (GHS) Maternal Fetal Medicine physician Dr. Amy Picklesimer has successfully implemented a CenteringPregnancy program at GHS for four years. “We have seen a significant reduction-up to 47 percent-in the number of preterm births prior to 37 weeks as a result of this program in our practice,” said Dr. Picklesimer. “CenteringPregnancy has helped us take better care of women, deliver healthier babies, and save an estimated $1.7 million in healthcare costs since our program began in 2008.” Dr. Picklesimer and her staff will serve as mentors for the five practices, meeting with them regularly and evaluating the statewide impact of the Patient Centering Initiative.

    At the start of a typical session, patients participate in self-care activities such as taking their own blood pressure and weight, have a brief individual assessment by the care provider, complete a Self-Assessment Sheet on a the educational topic for the session, and have time for informal conversation with the other participants. The group will then gather together for a facilitated discussion about a heath topic and the exchange of corporate wisdom on shared health experiences.  Sample topics include nutrition, childbirth preparation, infant care and feeding, and warning signs of preterm labor and other pregnancy complications. 

    SCDHHS through the BOI is working on other initiatives to improve the health and healthcare for pregnant women and infants in South Carolina.   In 2012, a program incentivizing doctors to screen pregnant women for risk factors such as substance abuse, domestic violence and depression was started.   SCDHHS also recently announced the "Race to the Date" program which provides financial rewards to hospitals certified as "Baby Friendly" by September 30, 2013.

    About the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

    The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services provides health care benefits to more than 1.1 million South Carolinians and financially supports almost half of all births in the state. Its mission is to purchase the most health for our citizens in need at the least possible cost to the taxpayer.

    About the March of Dimes   

     In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life.  Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive.  Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects.  About four million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefitted from March of Dimes lifesaving research and education. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For the latest resources and information, visit www.marchofdimes.com/southcarolina, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


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