Programs Try To Deliver Cheaper Deliveries

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By Allison Bell

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Employers dread the effects of pregnancy complications on healthplan claims.

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“One unhealthy baby can cost $50,000 to $1 million,” accordingto Shelly Coyle, director of maternity management at FutureHealthCorp., Timonium, Md. “All you need is one to really upset yourbudget.”

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Some companies are trying to help employers cope by improvingemployee education and care management.

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Today, many self-funded health plans fail to offer anyassistance other than basic coverage for maternity care, and manyprenatal care programs focus on women who appear to have high-riskpregnancies, Coyle says.

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But “we havent figured out how to identify who is truly highrisk,” Coyle adds.

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FutureHealths program emphasizes the use of low co-payments,t-shirts and other incentives to make sure that pregnant women getgood prenatal care and detailed advice about what is and isntnormal.

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Employers can also help by encouraging pregnant workers to takebreaks and comply with doctors orders to rest at home, Coylesays.

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FutureHealth and its competitors are also trying lower NICUcosts.

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One company, Paidos Health Management Services Inc., Deerfield,Ill., reports that it has a staff of neonatologists who advisehospitals on strategies for cutting costs without reducing thequality of care.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 7, 2003.Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serialpublication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as anindependent work may be held by the author.


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