Funding approved by the Nebraska Legislature established the Nebraska Perinatal Quality improvement Collaborative in an effort to reduce the death and disease associated with childbirth and the first month of life.
Dr. Ann Anderson Berry is the medical director for Nebraska Medicine’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical center and says, “One of the major benefits of the collaborative is that it will bring together all of the health systems in the state to achieve the best outcomes for moms and babies throughout the first year of life. The first is to decrease the number of cesarean sections. There are too many cesarean sections done on moms that could potentially be prevented which would lead to decreased infection rates, decreased lengths of hospitalization and decreased costs.”
The efforts will also focus on increasing the numbers of new mothers who breastfeed and conducting education to prevent and increase newborn screening for congenital cytomegalovirus, an infection that occurs before birth.
The Nebraska Legislature approved LB 233 to fund the initiative with $100,000 a year for two years. Nebraska became the 44th state to form a collaborative and it includes more than 90% of hospitals across the state.
Nebraska statistics show that there were about 2,752 infants born prematurely in Nebraska in 2013. Research shows the cost of care for preterm infants ranges from more than $100,000 for extreme prematurity to $4,500 for late prematurity. Very low birth weight infants are at risk for costly complications, adding $12,000 to $31,000 to their already expensive care.