Evidence shows home visiting programs make a difference in reducing at-risk infant deaths. By increasing family support systems, children may achieve better health and developmental outcomes. Michigan is 39th in the country for infant mortality rates. The state and stakeholders coordinated statewide efforts to help reduce the high number of infant deaths. Their goals are to create greater access to care, assess need and connect eligible infants and mothers to Medicaid home visiting programs; such as the Maternal and Infant Health Program (MIHP) and the Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) program.
The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), Division of Family and Community Health, granted $10,000 to Michigan birthing hospitals. The funds are provided to aid hospitals in developing a referral system, linking Medicaid beneficiary infants and their families to the MIHP. Also, infants who may qualify for CSHCS will receive assistance in obtaining additional support, medical care and care coordination services.
North Ottawa Community Hospital, Spectrum Zeeland Hospital and Holland Community Hospital each received the grant to collaborate with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, Intercare and other area MIHP providers. Their task is to develop the referral system for healthcare professionals, enabling them to share information with families about services provided by the MIHP and CSHCS. Working together on this statewide initiative will help reduce infant mortalities to protect babies and their futures.
Maternal and Infant Health Program
- Home support to pregnant women, new parents and families.
- Team of social workers, dietitians and nurses.
- Provides prenatal, parenting and child development education.
- Offers counseling and nutritional information.
- Helps obtain needed resources, financial aid and travel expense costs.
“The first years of a child’s life are critical to forming relationships and trust in their future. The MIHP is an evidence based program that helps improve maternal and infant health outcomes; beginning during pregnancy, continuing at birth and ongoing through the first year of life. ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ said Frederick Douglas (1817-1895). We have an opportunity to empower families- resulting in healthier communities.” Dawn Dotson, RN, MPA, BSN, Maternal and Infant Health Program supervisor
Children’s Special Health Care Services
- Helps pay for visits to specialists.
- Helps pay for medications and specialized equipment, such as
wheelchairs, when they relate to the CSHCS qualifying medical condition.
- Eligibility based on medical condition. All income levels qualify.
- Coordination of services and assists with locating community resources.
- May assist with travel and lodging expenses, relating to treatment
and care for the CSHCS qualifying medical diagnosis.
- May help to keep private insurance as well as cover co-pays
and deductibles from private insurance
“Parents tell me the CSHCS program has saved them from financial bankruptcy. I would like every eligible child’s parent to have the opportunity to enroll in CSHCS. With this grant, informed hospital staff can improve their referral process to the program.” Janine S Chittenden, BSN, RN, Children’s Special Health Care Services supervisor
Submitted by Kristina Wieghmink, Communication Specialist, Ottawa County Department of Public Health