The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation will award about $40 million in grants to test approaches that can help reduce the rising number of pre-term births in the U.S.
HHS reports that more than half a million infants are born prematurely each year, and that pre-term births often require early intervention services and special education for these children. Meanwhile, pre-term infants may also have conditions that could affect their productivity as adults. The new “Strong Start” initiative will focus on preventing pre-term births and also on reducing early elective deliveries that can result in a variety of health problems for mothers and infants. Up to 10% of all deliveries are scheduled as surgical deliveries before 39 weeks that are not medically indicated, according to HHS.