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HHS Announces Strong Start Initiative to Increase Healthy Deliveries and Reduce Preterm Births

February 16, 2012

On February 8, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced the Strong Start initiative (the “Initiative”) to reduce preterm births and improve outcomes for newborns and expectant women.  The purpose of the Initiative is to engage with a wide variety of interested parties in developing innovations to improve care, improve health, and lower costs for pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries at-risk for preterm births.

The Initiative focuses on reducing the number of early elective deliveries throughout the country and preventing preterm births.  In order to decrease early elective deliveries, the Initiative will test ways to disseminate best practices and technical support to providers nationwide.  Moreover, CMS will collaborate with advocacy and professional organizations to increase and develop public awareness efforts regarding the harms of early delivery.

In addition, in an effort to prevent preterm births, CMS Innovation will provide up to $43 million to innovators to test and evaluate the effect enhanced prenatal care has on decreasing prematurity.  Eligible applicants for the grant include providers of obstetric care, State Medicaid agencies, Medicaid managed care organizations, as well as conveners in partnership with other applicants.  Partnerships with maternal/child health, public health and community-based organizations as well as multistate collaborations are also encouraged to apply.  All applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov.   Applicants are strongly encouraged to use the review criteria information provided in the “Application Review Information” section in the funding opportunity announcement, to ensure that the proposal adequately addresses all the criteria that will be used in evaluating the proposals.

To read further on the Initiative, or to apply for a grant, please click here for more information.  In addition, if you have any questions about the Initiative, please contact any of the members of Shipman & Goodwin’s Health Law Practice Group.

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