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Blog: Finalists announced for inaugural Hearst population health prize

A prenatal support program, a transitional care management model, and a wellness program are all being recognized for their contributions to managing and improving health.

Centering Healthcare Institute's CenteringPregnancy, Community Care of North Carolina and Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health are finalists for the first-ever $100,000 Hearst Health Prize.

The award is given by Hearst Health, a division of Hearst, in partnership with the Jefferson College of Population Health of Thomas Jefferson University.

Finalists were chosen from a pool of more than 125 submissions from an assortment of U.S.-based institutions, including health systems, academic medical centers, community organizations and health departments.

The programs focus on distinct target populations and vary considerably in size.

A panel of nine all-star judges evaluated the submissions based on the use of evidence-based interventions, scalability and sustainability, measurable improvement data, innovation and other criteria. Centering Pregnancy, CCNC and JCM-BH received the highest scores.

The prenatal care program CenteringPregnancy brings together eight to 10 pregnant women with similar due dates for extended visits with their clinical provider. In addition to the recommended schedule of 10 prenatal visits, the program provides an opportunity for provider and support staff to talk with patients about nutrition, breastfeeding, infant care and other relevant topics. CenteringPregnancy has reached more than 125,000 women in 400 practice sites throughout the U.S. It reports reductions in preterm births between 33% and 47% across five published peer-reviewed studies. Its approved sites are estimated to have saved the healthcare system $35 million in 2014.

The largest program, CCNC, is a transitional care management model that helps 1.4 million Medicaid beneficiaries—including dual-eligibles—in North Carolina with post-discharge care and patient self-management. It also facilitates outpatient communication with the medical home to follow up on clinical and social issues that can affect outcomes. The program identifies individuals with chronic medical conditions who might be at risk for hospitalization or readmission. Since 2008, rates of hospitalization and readmission for the target population have declined by 10% and 16%, respectively, the program reports. Also, Medicaid costs dipped 9% between 2003 and 2012, according to the North Carolina Office of the State Auditor.

JCM-BH's program, Wealth from Health, Inc., provides incentives, such as discounts at retail shops and health clubs, for participants to actively manage their health and quality of life. The program is open to patients and medical center employees with complex chronic diseases, including asthma, sickle-cell anemia, HIV, renal stage disease and behavioral health issues. Approximately 2,500 individuals have enrolled so far. The results are measurable early on—the program reports a 40% reduction in inpatient admissions for participants who have been enrolled for at least six months. After one year of enrollment, a total of $2.1 million was saved when compared to a full year prior to program enrollment.

The nine judges deciding the finalists are all-stars of the industry. They include attorney Nancy-Ann DeParle, who helped the Obama administration pass the Affordable Care Act; Dr. Tejal Gandhi, who runs the National Patient Safety Foundation; Dr. Mark McClellan, a former CMS administrator now at the Brookings Institution; Dr. Mark Fendrick, who leads the Value-Based Insurance Design center at the University of Michigan; and Stephen Lieber, who runs HIMSS.

The finalists of the Heart Health Prize will be recognized next month at the Population Health Colloquium in Philadelphia. Representatives from finalist organizations will present on their programs at a special poster session on March 7 at the Population Health Colloquium. The winner will be announced the following morning.


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