Perinatal Care and Cost Effectiveness: Changes in Health Expenditures and Birth Outcome Following the Establishment of a Nurse–Midwife Program

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Estimates of infant health status and expenditures for perinatal care are presented for periods of time before and after implementation of a nurse-midwife program in rural Georgia. As the program developed, the infant mortality rate of the four counties served by the program showed a decrease. Similarly, the target population (pregnant women of low to moderate income who had no private physician) experienced decreases in the rate of neonatal mortality, low birthweight, and short gestational age. Estimated expenditures for perinatal care in the four counties decreased as well. These results are examined from the perspective of the National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974 and the utility of using an epidemiologic approach for estimating the output of health services in terms of health status is emphasized.

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