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October 13, 2000

Governor Announces Grants to Help Reduce Infant Mortality Rates

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced a new $2 million initiative to further reduce the infant mortality rate in some of Illinois' neediest communities. The Targeted, Intensive Prenatal Case Management program will identify and help pregnant women who have a greater than average chance of giving birth prematurely. These at-risk infants are more likely to die before their first birthday, develop learning disabilities or face physical challenges during their lifetime.

"Proper pre-natal care is the most effective tool in reducing the infant mortality rate and preventing the complications associated with low-birth weight," Ryan said. "It is important that we reach out to expectant mothers who are at-risk and let them know that help is available to them.

"Through these efforts, we can help parents give their children an opportunity to grow up healthy and strong."

This new initiative will address long-standing differences in the health of African-American and Caucasian women and infants. In 1998, African-American women were nearly three times more likely than Caucasian women to begin prenatal care late in pregnancy or to not receive prenatal care. African-American infants were also nearly three times more likely than Caucasian infants to be born prematurely and more than two and a half times more likely to die before their first birthday.

"The Targeted, Intensive Prenatal Case Management program will help at risk women to obtain the services that they will need to prevent premature births," Department of Human Services Secretary Linda ReneƩ Baker said. "We will provide participants with at least one home visit each month by a public health nurse, or a social worker, to identify necessary programs and ensure the future of our most important resource - our children."

This new initiative is being built on the success of two of the Department's other programs, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Family Case Management program. A recent study found that women who participated in these programs during pregnancy had a 62 percent lower rate of premature birth and a 56 percent lower rate of infant death before age one. Also, Medicaid expenditures to participating women and infants during the first year of life was 50 percent lower than expenditures for infants born to women who did not participate in either program.

Another unique aspect of this program is its accountability. When a woman who was at risk of having a premature birth delivers a full-term infant, the agency will receive a financial bonus for each month that the woman was participating in services. This ensures public accountability and keeps the program focused on results. The communities chosen to participate in the program were selected because of their high Medicaid expenditures for infants during the first year of life. These communities also have many premature infants and infants who die before the first year of life.

The mission of the WIC Program is to improve the health status of women, infants and children; to reduce the incidence of infant mortality, premature births and low birth weight; and, to aid in the development of children. The program serves income-eligible pregnant, breast-feeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to 5 years of age who have a medical or nutritional risk. The program serves approximately 466,000 individuals in Illinois and provides health screening, nutrition education and counseling, supplemental foods, and information about health services.

The DHS Family Case Management Program provides outreach, comprehensive case management and support services to its clients. The program serves pregnant women and infants in families that are below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level. The statewide Family Case Management Program funds 116 agencies, including health departments, Federally qualified health centers, and community-based organizations. The program served 333,700 individuals in fiscal year 1999.

A list of service areas, providers and grant amounts is attached.

Targeted, Intensive Prenatal Case Management
Grant Service Areas, Providers and Amounts

Service AreaProviderAmount
North LawndaleLawndale Christian Health Center$308,100
Humboldt ParkErie Family Health Center$354,000
RoselandChicago Department of Public Health$248,700
HarveyCook County Department of Public Health$191,100
Vermilion CountyVermilion County Health Department$120,300
Peoria CountyPeoria City/County Health Department$242,400
St. Clair CountySt. Clair County Health Department$135,800
St. Clair CountyEast Side Health District$165,900


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