Great News for Georgia’s Planning for Healthy Babies Waiver Program!
Author: HMHBGA Staff
We are excited to announce that on August 29, 2019 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the Planning for Healthy Babies waiver for a ten-year extension. The program, which was implemented on January 1, 2011, will now continue through December 31, 2029.
What is P4HB?
In 2011, Georgia launched the Planning for Healthy Babies (P4HB) waiver program. P4HB aims to reduce low birthweight and very low birthweight babies by providing no-cost family planning services to uninsured women of childbearing age with family incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Eligible women can enroll through all four Medicaid Care Management Organizations (CMO): Amerigroup, Peach State, CareSource, and Wellcare.
Three types of services are offered under P4HB:
- Family planning only services provide annual family planning exams, contraceptive services, and STI testing and treatment
- Inter-pregnancy care services are for women who gave birth to a baby weighing less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces. Inter-pregnancy care services offer primary care, substance abuse treatment, case management, limited dental services, and prescription drugs for treatment of chronic diseases.
- Resource Mother outreach services are for women who currently receive Medicaid benefits and gave birth to a baby weighing less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces. This service offers support to mothers and provides them with information on parenting, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles.
According to the 2018 P4HB Annual Report, the program has been associated with a number of positive outcomes for Georgia’s women covered by Medicaid including
- Decreased unintended pregnancies;
- Decreased teen births;
- Decreased very short (< 6 months) interpregnancy intervals; and
- Increased age at first birth.
The extension of the Planning for Healthy Babies program allows for women to continue receiving these benefits, thus improving the health of mothers and babies in the State of Georgia.
HMHB P4HB Working Group
As of 2017, only 19.4% of women eligible for P4HB family planning only services were enrolled in the program. However, 58.9% of women eligible for inter-pregnancy care and Resource Mother program services were enrolled. About 14% of women enrolled in the family planning only services attended a family planning visit within the first six months of enrollment, compared to 18.8% enrolled in the inter-pregnancy and Resource Mother services. These findings highlight the need for an increase in enrollment and participation of Georgia’s eligible population in the P4HB program.
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia will be convening a working group this December to do just that. This working group will help in creating a statewide marketing and communications plan in collaboration with the four Care Management Organizations, provider organizations and community-based organizations that serve the population(s) eligible for P4HB in Georgia. The goal is to amplify current efforts by the Department and CMOs toward increasing the knowledge, understanding and utilization of P4HB services toward reducing Georgia’s LBW and VLBW rates, unintended pregnancies and lowering Medicaid costs in Georgia. HMHB is dedicated to continuing our support of the Program by convening community partners and provider groups toward increasing awareness of the program’s benefits for greater utilization by both participants and providers statewide. The P4HB working group will be meeting for the first time December 12, 2019 from 10AM-12PM.