November 17th is World Prematurity Day. At ProgenyHealth, our mission is to improve outcomes for this vulnerable population. Prematurity (birth prior to 37 weeks gestation) is the leading cause of death worldwide in children under five years of age. Here are a few facts illustrating why prematurity remains at the forefront of population management agendas.
- Sadly, after some years of improvement, the rate of preterm birth has increased for the second year, rising 0.2% to 9.8% in 2016.
- Some states, such as Mississippi, have prematurity rates over 13% of live births.
- There have been several wide disparities noted based on racial and ethnic background as well as zip code. For example, Seattle had a prematurity rate in 2016 of 6.9% while St. Louis’ rate was 13.3%.
- Premature infants are at an increased risk of long-term health problems, including cerebral palsy, developmental delay, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss.
The increase in the incidence of prematurity illustrates why so much focus remains on this population and is one of the reasons that ProgenyHealth’s customer base is expanding so rapidly. While health plans around the world are working to manage the quality of care and cost associated with this high-risk group, Progeny is providing care coordination services exclusively for the NICU members of their health plan partners. Over the past 14 years, we have provided care management services to tens of thousands of babies and have consistently delivered healthy outcomes to our customers.