OHT partnering with IPAC to improve maternal and child health

IPAC President Jane Hamel-Lambert, Ph.D., is interviewed on WOUB's Newswatch 

President Hamel-Lambert is optimistic that a new OHT-funded collaboration between IPAC and Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Partners for Kids (PFK) will improve health outcomes for high-risk pregnant women who live in our area.

Governor John Kasich's Office of Health Transformation will invest $350,000 to replicate the Community Pathways Model in Southeast Ohio through a partnership with these two organizations.

“We’re hoping that by regionalizing care, we can create better coordination and outcomes will improve,” Hamel-Lambert said. “It’s a resource that we know is needed.”

The Community Pathways Model has dramatically reduced low-weight births in targeted populations in Richland County and has also been implemented successfully in Toledo and Cincinnati.

"IPAC is delighted to be selected as a partner in Governor Kasich’s initiative, which puts kids first and recognizes that investing in healthy children and healthy families is the best investment we can make," said Hamel-Lambert, who is also an associate professor of family medicine at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University. "Our rural community showcases connectivity between agencies, educators and health professionals, and a local pride that motivates our commitment to making this project successful. These tools are a welcome boost to a unique community."

In newly reported data to the Ohio Department of Health, the Community Health Access Project (CHAP) in Richland County achieved a 30 percent reduction in the risk for low-weight births using the Community Pathway Model. Nationally, every low-weight or preterm birth costs states between $28,000 and $40,000 in medical care and other related costs. In Ohio, low-weight births represent only about 10 percent of all Medicaid births but account for more than 50 percent of all Medicaid birth expenditures.

The Community Pathways Model was developed by CHAP to improve health and preventative care for high-risk mothers and children in difficult-to-serve areas. It coordinates care for individuals within targeted medical "pathways," such as medication assessment, smoking cessation and pregnancy and postpartum care. The model utilizes a pay-for-performance methodology that provides financial incentives to providers that are tied to improving outcomes, and it eliminates duplication among health and human service agencies.

"In the Community Pathways Model, each pathway is designed to address a single health or social issue and confirm that the issue has been resolved," said Sarah Redding, M.D., M.P.H., executive director of CHAP. "In the pregnancy pathway, for example, community health coordinators confirm that women at highest risk for a poor birth outcome are found and connected to evidence-based care, such as prenatal visits, and they follow the mother’s progress to confirm that the outcome is a normal-birth-weight infant."

"We are pleased to bring this innovative model of care coordination to a population in need," said Sean Gleeson, M.D., medical director for PFK and vice president of community health and wellness at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. "As an accountable care organization in southeastern Ohio, Partners for Kids can extend the physician’s impact on patients’ lives by coordinating a community-based team approach to care that delivers the best outcomes for children."

Many of the details of this project are still being solidified. However, the current timeline suggests that it could be running in a limited capacity by early May and fully operational by July 2012.

Read Progress Report: Healthy Mothers and Babies for more information on Kasich administration initiatives to improve care coordination for high-risk mothers and babies.