UnitedHealthcare and UWH of North Carolina to Address Maternal Health Needs With Group Prenatal Care Initiative

October 20, 2021 | 4 min Read
  • $175,000 from UnitedHealthcare will support the implementation of new CenteringPregnancy sites at OB-GYN practices in North Carolina

UnitedHealthcare and UWH of North Carolina, an affiliated medical practice of Unified Women’s Healthcare, today announced an initiative using the group prenatal care model, CenteringPregnancy, to improve outcomes and reduce racial and social disparities among mothers in North Carolina by providing access to quality maternal care.

With $175,000 in support from UnitedHealthcare, the collaboration with UWH of North Carolina will launch the CenteringPregnancy initiative at Laurel OB-GYN in Asheville; Catawba Women’s Center in Hickory; Carteret OB-GYN and Associates in Morehead City; and Wayne Women’s Clinic in Goldsboro. These locations were identified in collaboration with local health care providers as practices that may benefit from the introduction of CenteringPregnancy.

CenteringPregnancy is an evidence-based model of group prenatal care shown to improve a wide range of birth outcomes including lowering the risk of preterm births, reducing low birth weights, increasing rates of breastfeeding, increasing postpartum depression screenings and promoting healthier pregnancy spacing. The initiative brings together up to 12 people with similar due dates, their partners, support people and health care team to meet for 10 prenatal visits. Participants engage in their care by measuring their weight and blood pressure, recording their health data and meeting privately with their provider for the clinical assessment.

The funding will also provide support to sustain four current CenteringPregnancy sites at Chapel Hill OB-GYN in Chapel Hill; Triangle Physicians for Women in Cary; Durham Women’s Clinic in Durham; and Lyndhurst OB-GYN in Winston-Salem.

“We recognize that poor maternal health outcomes remain high among women in North Carolina, and that Black women and infants represent a disproportionate share of adverse outcomes," said Anita Bachmann, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina. “Access to quality prenatal health care will help close the gap on health inequity. We are proud to partner with UWH of North Carolina to address disparities and improve maternal health outcomes in North Carolina."

“Addressing maternal and prenatal health inequity means challenging the status quo to transform health care in North Carolina," said Dr. Barrett Gunter, OB-GYN at Durham Women's Clinic and Unified Women's Healthcare medical director. "We applaud UnitedHealthcare for recognizing the importance of maternal and child health in improving care for all pregnancies across the state."

According to March of Dimes, North Carolina ranks higher in the preterm birth rate compared to the national average, and the preterm birth rate among Black women is 46% higher than all other women. North Carolina also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 808 infant deaths since 2019. Overall, Black women have at least twice the rate of severe maternal morbidity and are at least three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications, compared to white women.

The CenteringPregnancy initiative is one of several that UnitedHealthcare, along with its parent company UnitedHealth Group, is launching to address maternal health outcomes throughout the United States. Recent initiatives include nearly $14 million in philanthropic grants to support maternal health, and $2.85 million in support to March of Dimes for a public-private partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services that aims to reduce the Black-white disparity gap and improve maternal health outcomes.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.

About UWH of North Carolina

UWH of North Carolina is comprised of 51 practice offices in North Carolina and South Carolina with more than 50 individual practice offices and more than 200 highly trained, dedicated physicians. The group joined the affiliated medical network of Unified Women’s Healthcare (www.unifiedhc.com) in 2014, covering 12 counties in North Carolina and two counties in South Carolina. All offices feature the latest in technological advances along with the personal touch that is so important in achieving quality outcomes for the patients’ health and well-being. The group also maintains an in-house laboratory, mammography services, nutritional counseling, and midwifery services. North Carolina is also home to Unified Women’s Clinical Research, which maintains its headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This group collaborates among four sites across the state that are involved in conducting and partnering on clinical trials and studies involving investigational medications, devices, gene therapy and vaccines.

About Unified Women’s Healthcare

Unified Women’s Healthcare is a diversified women’s health company focused on providing a better experience for patients, for the people who care for them and for the people and organizations who pay for that care. To support its vision of providing women with the best healthcare in the world, Unified provides innovative business support and technology to over 2,500 providers across North America. Unified has expanded beyond its leading OB-GYN management services platform to include reproductive healthcare services through its strategic partnership with CCRM Fertility, and the advancement of high-risk maternity care management services, with its acquisition of Lucina. As a physician-led company, Unified seeks innovative ways to preserve clinical autonomy, alleviate business and regulatory burdens of running a practice, and empower physicians to make the greatest impact on transforming women’s healthcare for their patients. To learn more, please visit unifiedhc.com.

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