NJ FamilyCare Launches a Pilot Program Promoting Effective Perinatal Care as Part of First Lady’s Nurture NJ Campaign

August 19, 2022

(TRENTON)As part of New Jersey’s continued commitment to making New Jersey the safest and most equitable state in the nation to deliver and raise a baby, First Lady Tammy Murphy and Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced a new NJ FamilyCare pilot program promoting high quality perinatal care.

NJ FamilyCare’s Perinatal Episode of Care program is a three-year pilot to test a new alternative payment model for prenatal, labor, and postpartum services statewide.

The pilot’s goal is to improve maternity care by encouraging NJ FamilyCare obstetrical providers to broadly engage in all aspects of their patient’s care beyond direct obstetrical care, from pregnancy through the postpartum period, including emergency room visits and newborn pediatric care. Clinicians who choose to participate in the program are financially incentivized to take on comprehensive responsibility for the quality and cost of their patients’ care.  

In addition to becoming eligible for financial incentives, providers who participate in the pilot will receive detailed personalized feedback on their performance and will undertake specific quality improvement activities.

New Jersey is one of the first states in the nation to develop a perinatal episode of care and incorporate groundbreaking focus on high-quality maternity care and equitable health outcomes.

“The NJ FamilyCare pilot program, launched in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Human Services, will bring us one step closer to reaching Nurture NJ’s goal of reducing our state’s maternal mortality by 50 percent over five years and eliminating racial disparities in birth outcomes, said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Coordinating and ensuring effective, quality perinatal care is vital to ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy, labor and delivery for a mother and her baby. This groundbreaking program is a welcome addition to the many ongoing efforts we have in place to make New Jersey the safest, most equitable state in the nation to deliver and raise a baby.”

“In New Jersey and across the nation we will not improve systemic inequities in maternal and child health care and outcomes by doing the same things we always have.  This pilot program provides clinicians with additional data and financial incentives that will allow them to provide more innovative approaches in care,” Commissioner Adelman said. “We are excited about the providers participating in this program and we look forward to seeing the results of the pilot.

Clinicians who volunteered to participate in the program are eligible to share in savings from more efficient perinatal care delivery. Also, the program will send additional incentive payments to providers who hit milestones on critical cost, quality and other metrics. 

NJ FamilyCare is New Jersey’s Medicaid and CHIP program, and it covers approximately 30,000 New Jersey births each year.

The pilot addresses a major recommendation in the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan, a roadmap to make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place in the nation to deliver and raise a baby. The recommendation was for DHS to institute a perinatal episode of care (EOC) to ensure coordination of services in the months prior to and after delivery to link families to the tools and resources they need to carry out recommended care plans. 

Compared to similar programs in other state Medicaid programs, New Jersey’s perinatal episode-of-care is focused specifically on supporting high-quality maternity care with a focus on addressing health disparities. Obstetrical practices who chose to participate in this voluntary pilot program will receive data on the quality of care their patients receive broken down by the NJ FamilyCare member’s race and ethnicity.

The launch of the pilot program comes after an extensive stakeholder engagement process following the passage of authorizing legislation in 2019. A multi-stakeholder Steering Committee that included clinical obstetrical providers, hospital systems, community doulas, and academic and community experts met on the design and implementation of the program.

“A perinatal episode of care pilot that promotes high-quality, equitable, accessible and efficient maternity care for NJ FamilyCare members represents yet another step toward our shared goal of helping New Jersey families thrive,” Human Services Deputy Commissioner Lisa Asare said.

“This pilot program represents a joint effort to bring together the perspectives of state agencies, doctors, midwives, hospitals, managed care plans, advocacy groups, and national experts to advance our shared goals of high quality and equitable maternity care” said Gregory Woods, Chief Innovation Officer for the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services. “As the program evolves and grows in future years, we intend to continue with this collaborative approach.”

“Though strides have been made in health care accessibility and treatment for pregnant women and new mothers in New Jersey, there is no doubt we must continue to improve maternity care across the board,” said Senator Nellie Pou. “I was proud to be prime sponsor of legislation implementing a three-year perinatal episode of care pilot program in Medicaid, and want to thank Governor Murphy and First Lady Murphy for also remaining engaged on this issue. With a still significant number of New Jersey births being paid for by Medicaid, we must do all we can to improve the efficiency of services as well as the ability to boost incentives for the best care possible.” 

“Building on our efforts to support expecting mothers by improving perinatal health outcomes, this pilot program will help many new parents access quality, affordable postpartum and pediatric care,” said Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. “Prioritizing the health and well-being of women and newborn babies is critical. This program will help us deliver on our commitment to make New Jersey the best place to start and raise a family.” 

The pilot is projected to continue through June 2025. Initially, more than a dozen NJ FamilyCare providers have committed to this initiative. Together, they provide maternity care for a third of NJ FamilyCare-covered births each year. Participating obstetrical practices partnering with NJ FamilyCare for the first period of the pilot include:

  • AtlantiCare Physician Group – OB/GYN (Egg Harbor Township)
  • Axia Women’s Health (Voorhees)
  • Capital Health Regional Medical Center (Trenton) and Capital Health Medical Center (Hopewell Township)
  • Cooper University Health Care (Camden)
  • Hackensack University Medical Group (Hackensack)
  • Inspira Health Network Medical Group (Glassboro)
  • James Kusnierz PA (Irvington)
  • Kennedy Medical Group Practice (Jefferson Medical Group New Jersey) (Voorhees)
  • Lifeline Medical Associates, LLC (Florham Park)
  • St. Joseph’s Health (Paterson)
  • St. Peters University Hospital (New Brunswick)
  • The Combined Medical Group of RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Health (West Orange)
  • Tulip OBGYN, LLC (Paterson)
  • University Hospital (Newark)
  • Virtua Medical Group (Marlton)
  • Woman’s Comprehensive Healthcare of NJ (West Long Branch)

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