The Ohio Department of Medicaid has awarded Cradle Cincinnati $2.1 million in funding over the next two years to organize new efforts to combat infant mortality in Hamilton County. The funding will be used to serve 1,000 new pregnant women with proven support strategies through 5 experienced agencies: Health Care Access Now, Healthy Moms and Babes, TriHealth Outreach Ministries, the Cincinnati Health Department and Every Child Succeeds. Collectively, these interventions can reduce the risk of preterm birth by as much as one third, but only 1 in 5 families served by Medicaid currently has access to them.

“This is a good day for Hamilton County,” said Hamilton County Commissioner and Cradle Cincinnati Chair Todd Portune. “More families will be receiving these life-saving services and, as a result, more babies will be born healthy. I’m encouraged that these agencies set aside competition to work as one on behalf of our babies.”

Cradle Cincinnati included the goal of increasing the availability of social support services in its 2014 strategic plan. An economic analysis conducted by the UC Economic Center suggests that, by preventing preterm births, the net savings of this project to Ohio Medicaid will be $2.4 million.

Since 2011, 9.3 Hamilton County babies have died for every 1,000 born in Hamilton County. These recent years represent historic lows for Hamilton County with more than 20 fewer babies dying each year compared to the past decade. However, our rate of infant death is still far higher than the national average of 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.

The three leading causes of infant death in Hamilton County from 2011-2015 were preterm birth, birth defects and sleep related deaths.

The entire Cradle Cincinnati / Ohio Medicaid partnership plan can be found here.