Since holding its first virtual meeting on the topic of “Making the Business Case for Maternity APMs,” the MAC has held four more virtual meetings on the following topics: Quality Measurement (two-part virtual meeting series); Setting the Patient Population; and most recently, on May 22nd, Alternative Maternity Care Delivery Models and Services. This last meeting, attended by MAC members representing all stakeholder groups, featured expert speaker Cara Osborne, a Certified Nurse Midwife and Founder of Baby + Company, a network of free-standing birth centers. Cara described that the impetus for creating Baby + Company was to offer the type of comprehensive, person-centered care that is often challenging to provide in the traditional maternity care model. Highlights include:

  • The traditional maternity care model typically includes monthly prenatal care visits with one practitioner that may last approximately 5 to 10 minutes. In the birth center model, practitioners spend an hour with the patient during her first visit, and 30 minutes for subsequent visits. The model also provides education and group prenatal care, face-to-face visits with the provider, home visits, telemedicine, and lactation consultation through six weeks post-partum.
  • Unlike the standardized approach in the traditional model, this is a more tailored approach to care, which does create risk when delivering care within an episode-based flat fee. It was noted, however, that when there is a large enough patient population, the risk is minimized. Baby + Company’s contracts are full risk for any costs above the negotiated flat fee.
  • Having a champion on the payer side can be critical to making progress. Cara noted the role that Susan Weaver, Chief Medical Officer at North Carolina Blue Cross Blue Shield, played when Baby + Company was seeking to create an episode payment contract for their birth center in Cary, North Carolina.
  • Some percentage of birth center patients will transfer to a hospital or to a non-birth center care setting either during the prenatal care period or during labor. The key is for payers to determine a reimbursement model that distributes the reimbursement across the prenatal care phase, and does not center the majority of payment on the birth event alone.
  • Data is critical to success. Baby + Company uses a three-year look-back period to analyze total costs, patient transfers, and other factors that affect where and when costs are accumulated.
  • Education is key. Patients need to be aware of the differences in care available in different settings if there is to be significant culture change that drives the inclusion of these alternative models into current and future value-based payment and alternative payment models.

For more information on this and previous events – including slides, resource ebooks, and summaries – please visit the MAC Event page. Here you will find links to individual event pages for all virtual events – past and future – with session goals and links to sessions materials.  For past events, the meeting summaries and session slides are available for download, and for future events, the link to the ReadyTalk registration pages are available for anyone who is interested in joining one of the virtual events. If you have any questions about the MAC, please contact Tanya Alteras or Leah Allen.

To achieve the goal of better care, smarter spending, and healthier people, the U.S. health care system must substantially reform its payment structure to incentivize quality, health outcomes, and value over volume. The Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (LAN) was established as a collaborative network of public and private stakeholders, including health plans, providers, patients, employers, consumers, states, federal agencies, and other partners within the health care community.

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