FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2013
COH Contact: Staci Gorden, (202)407-7754, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC – Community of Hope’s Family Health and Birth Center (FHBC) is thrilled to be awarded funds to demonstrate the effectiveness of a Birth Center Model as part of the National Capital Strong Start (NCSS) initiative under the leadership of Providence Hospital’s Center for Perinatal Advocacy.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s Strong Start program was announced by Department of Health & Human Services’ Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a press conference at the Family Health and Birth Center in February 2012. The NCSS initiative represents a unique collaboration between hospitals, community health care centers, and public agencies to reduce preterm births and improve outcomes for newborns and pregnant women. The initiative in the District of Columbia was one of 27 awards nationally, and the only one that included all three models in their proposal – Birth Center, Centering, and Maternal Health Home.
Kelly Sweeney McShane, Executive Director of Community of Hope says, “This is an exciting opportunity to work collaboratively with our partner hospitals and federally qualified health centers to significantly improve outcomes for low-income pregnant women and their babies in the District.”
Under the Strong Start initiative, FHBC will receive a portion of a $1.8 million grant, which will be distributed amongst 13 partner organizations by the Center of Perinatal Advocacy at Providence Hospital. Funds will be distributed to participating organizations based on the number of women served who receive Medicaid. Altogether, the Strong Start grant for NCSS is expected to serve over 3,075 pregnant women over a three-year period.
Funds from the grant will be used at FHBC for a patient navigator for at-risk pregnant mothers as well as to support a doula program. FHBC’s model for enhanced prenatal care includes comprehensive care facilitated by teams of health professionals including Certified Nurse Midwives and peer counselors. Mothers can choose to deliver with midwives at the birth center or at Washington Hospital Center. National Capital Strong Start funding will enable FHBC to provide prenatal care to 420 pregnant women who receive Medicaid over three years.
The model of care at FHBC has led to significant reductions in the number of preterm births, low birthweight babies, and cesarean sections among its patients. In 2012, the preterm birth rate for FHBC clients was 5% and only 3% of women served by FHBC had a low birthweight baby.
The National Capital Strong Start Partnership includes:
- Four of the area’s largest hospitals, including the three largest District hospitals that provide obstetrical services to women covered by Medicaid: Howard University Hospital, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Medstar Washington Hospital Center, and Providence;
- All of the federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) that provide obstetric services to Medicaid patients: Community of Hope’ Family Health and Birth Center, Mary’s Center, and Unity Health Care;
- All of the District’s managed care organizations (MCOs) serving Medicaid patients: Chartered Health Plan, Health Services for Children with Special Needs Inc., and United Healthcare Community Plan;
- Two government agencies: D.C. Department of Health’s Center for Policy, Planning, and Evaluation and D.C. Department of Health Care Finance; and
- Healthy Babies Project, one of the longest-operating community-based organizations serving disadvantaged pregnant women and their families in the District.
Community of Hope’s (COH) Family Health and Birth Center is the only free-standing birth center in Washington, D.C. COH has been providing healthcare since 1980 and became a federally qualified health center in 2006. In August 2011, COH assumed operations of FHBC which is fully accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Birth Centers.
For over thirty years, Community of Hope has worked to improve the health and quality of life for low-income, homeless, and underserved families and individuals in the District of Columbia by providing healthcare, housing with supportive services, and educational opportunities. The organization was recognized by the Washington Post for the 2012 Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.