Funding Targets Communities That Most Need Help Reducing Infant Mortality Rate

John McCarthy (Photo: Ohio Department of Medicaid)
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The state is working with urban community leaders to pinpoint specific ways of reducing the infant mortality rate. Statehouse reporter Andy Chow has more.

Ohio’s Medicaid department doled out more than $22 million to groups around the state to help cut down on the number of babies that die before their first birthdays. 

The group’s director, John McCarthy, says they worked with community leaders in Ohio’s eight urban areas to figure what can help each specific region in its own way.

McCarthy: “We did not want to come in and say ‘this is how you should do it’ because those local communities already had great ideas it was just getting some of the seed funding to get some of these projects up and off the ground and working.”

Those projects include efforts to educate both women and men on how to carry out healthy pregnancies and programs that connect families with health-related resources.

Ohio’s infant mortality rate is higher than the national average overall and has one of the worst rates in the country for black infants.

McCarthy says the Ohio Department of Medicaid funds nearly half of all births in the state.

McCarthy: “Because of that we are a big driver of resources in this area as you know we’ve been working over the last few years of how to move the Medicaid program into a program where we’re providing value to the state and improving health outcomes.”

Every urban region received at least $1.5 million. The Toledo area got the most amount of money with $3.2 million.

McCarthy says the amount of money was based on the needs and existing resources in each area and is not an indicator of the severity of the situation per region.

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