For the first time, the Mississippi Department of Health is bringing together doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies to make sure pregnant women across Mississippi get the best treatment. Mississippi has the highest rate of pre-term births and infant mortality of any state in the nation..
Starting this fall, the State Department of Health will launch the Mississippi Perinatal Quality Collaborative.
The goal is to improve the quality of health care for women across the state by standardizing treatment.
Dr. Charlene Collier with the Department of Health says there are well known steps that can be taken to improve the outcomes for women and babies.
"Reducing maternal hemorage. Reducing C-sections. Reducing infant infections. increasing breastfeeding. These are all areas where we have good evidence, and we have great strategies that have been effective in other parts of the country. We want to work as a group and align all of our interest and align all of our resources to implement," Collier said.
Decreasing the state's nation leading rates of pre-term births and infant mortality is a top goal of the health department.
Similar collaboratives are already in existence in about 30 other states.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, the state's largest insurer, has joined the collaborative.
Sarah Broom with Blue Cross says their interest is clear.
"To work on the perinatal issues that are a problem in our state. to try to improve the health of both mother's and babies," Broom said.
Some steps are already being taken, such as reducing early elective births.
The first steps of the collaborative, when they meet in November, is to recommend how hospitals and doctors statewide should treat pregnant women and infants.