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Pregnancy-Newborn Episodes of Care Program: Helping to Improve Outcomes for Moms and Newborns

Published Date: Dec 19, 2022

Axia Women's Health participates in a Horizon program that is helping improve maternal health and pregnancy outcomes for its Horizon patients, including their underserved patients with limited access to quality care. Through Horizon's value-based Pregnancy-Newborn Episodes of Care (EOC) Program, Axia is furthering its mission to provide a more caring, connected and progressive women's health care community.

"The EOC Program gives Axia the opportunity to shift from a fee-for-service model to a bundled payment approach that enables us to reduce health care costs and ensure high-quality, focused care for our patients," said Leisa O'Flynn, DO, Esq., Vice President of Medical Affairs in New Jersey at Axia. "This is a highly innovative and progressive program that rewards our providers and allows them to further invest in programs to deliver leading patient outcomes."

Axia is one of the nation's largest integrated women's health networks, with more than 200 locations and 500 providers across five states (NJ, PA, OH, KY, IN) who care for approximately 500,000 women annually.

Reducing Maternal Mortality and Racial Disparities

Horizon is committed to working with Axia and other providers to improve maternal health and pregnancy outcomes. New Jersey is ranked among the worst in maternal mortality (47th out of 50 states) and has one of the widest racial disparities for maternal and infant mortality. New Jersey's Nurture NJ Strategic Plan, spearheaded by New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, has brought together multiple agencies, sectors and health care professionals and organizations to improve maternal health care in the state.

"Providing better outcomes for moms and newborns is a priority for Horizon and aligns with New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy's goals as well," said Shital Patel, MD, Medical Director II, Clinical Transformation at Horizon. "In an attempt to reduce maternal-fetal complications and mortality, especially in underserved areas, Horizon is looking to partner with more providers to expand our Pregnancy-Newborn EOC Program."

"We know that access can be a significant barrier to care for women, especially those covered by Medicaid plans. Through the Pregnancy-Newborn EOC Program, our Medicaid patients will receive the same access to high-quality pregnancy care as those with private insurance at our participating care centers. In turn, we're hopeful that we can help to improve outcomes in underserved communities," said Dr. O'Flynn.

"Better access will allow for the earlier identification and treatment of risk factors that can have a huge impact on pregnancy. This, in turn, will produce better health outcomes for both moms and their newborns," said Dr. Patel.

Improving Outcomes with Focus on Key Clinical Areas

At Axia, the Pregnancy-Newborn EOC Program focuses on key areas of clinical care that can help a woman's health throughout her pregnancy:

  • Providing screening and support for issues like perinatal depression and gestational diabetes
  • Reducing cesarean section rates
  • Ensuring proper postpartum care following the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines within the critical weeks after delivery

Axia also offers an app for patients that provides support and provider-approved educational materials as well as access to a patient-centric portal to help them stay connected.

"By keeping a patient engaged in their health, we believe this also contributes to better outcomes," said Dr. O'Flynn.

One of Axia's key metrics for evaluating positive outcomes in its obstetric patients is assessing the mode of delivery and aiming to reduce overall cesarean section rates.

"We're proud to have made significant progress in this area by driving down primary cesarean section rates and focusing on vaginal deliveries when medically possible. Other areas of focus are reducing the length of stay and NICU rates. All these efforts are positive for patients and reduce costs in the system," said Dr. O'Flynn.

Non-clinical Support for Pregnant Patients

Through the Pregnancy-Newborn EOC Program, Horizon also helps women during their pregnancy to address any issues or social determinants of health (SDoH) that may keep them from getting the care they need. Pregnant women of color face greater health risks due to SDoH. Horizon works with local community resources, such as food banks and transportation services, to address SDoH.

Horizon wants to expand its EOC provider base to focus a light on underserved women. It's important for doctors to understand the life that their patients are living and their resource issues, and to be able to build trust with them.

"Improving maternal health is a complex issue that requires innovative ideas and collaboration across all sectors to drive positive changes," said Dr. O'Flynn. "That's why we're proud to be working with partners like Horizon that are helping to redesign our health care payment model and reward providers for improvement in maternal health outcomes. Together, we will continue innovating and leading the way in improving women's health."