COLUMBIA — The nation’s first Pay for Success project aimed at improving health outcomes for mothers and children living in poverty was announced Tuesday by Gov. Nikki Haley.
The South Carolina Nurse-Family Partnership Pay for Success project will bring Nurse-Family Partnership’s program to an additional 3,200 first-time mothers and their babies enrolled across South Carolina over the next four years, a significant increase over the 1,200 families currently benefiting from the high-impact intervention.
The South Carolina project has four concrete goals: reducing preterm births, decreasing child hospitalization and emergency department usage due to injury, improving healthy spacing between births and increasing the number of first-time mothers served in the lowest-income communities.
The project mobilizes $30 million, with philanthropic funders committing $17 million to the project. Medicaid will fund approximately $13 million via a 1915(b) Medicaid Waiver awarded to the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“This innovative program is going to allow us to improve the health of our children and families, and it’s a perfect example of what we can do when leaders from the private sector and public service work together,” said Haley.
Haley was joined by Christian Soura, director of the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services, state officials and leaders from the private sector. HHS is spearheading the initiative.
Nurse-Family Partnership pairs vulnerable first-time mothers with registered nurses who have specialized training in maternal and child health. Through home visits from early in pregnancy to the child’s second birthday, the nurses support mothers in having healthy pregnancies, becoming knowledgeable and responsible parents and giving their babies the best possible start in life.
“The Pay for Success model changes the way that government does business, by promoting evidence-based policy and making payments contingent upon actual measured outcomes,” said Soura.
Roxane White, president and CEO of Nurse-Family Partnership, said they will be developing new, more cost-effective ways to scale their programs.
“This pioneering South Carolina Pay for Success Initiative will help us reach thousands of new mothers, transforming their lives and those of their children,” said White.
Tracy Palandjian, CEO and co-founder of Social Finance, the nonprofit that supported the design and financing for the South Carolina initiative, called the partnership “momentous for South Carolinians and for the Pay for Success field.
“This project will increase opportunity for mothers and children and unlocks private capital to advance public good. It’s a testament to what we can achieve when diverse leaders think creatively and work together,” Palandjian said.
Other private and philanthropic funders for the South Carolina project include BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, The Boeing Company, The Duke Endowment, Greenville First Steps and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
Investing in effective prevention programs such as Nurse-Family Partnership will lead to substantial cost savings over time, said Minor Shaw, chair of The Duke Endowment and a trustee of the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation.
“And as we help parents and children get off to the best start possible, the long-term impact for families and communities is even more significant,” Shaw added.
Harvey Galloway, executive director of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, said Nurse-Family Partnership is on the right path to improve the health and life trajectory of vulnerable, first-time moms and their babies.
“We have supported Nurse-Family Partnership since 2008 and we see this intervention and new funding model as paramount in our work to support innovative approaches to bridge health and health care gaps,” Galloway said. “We are pleased to partner in this transformational shift of public and private efforts to address the needs of underserved populations and improve the quality of life for mothers living in poverty, their children and ultimately all South Carolinians for generations to come.”
Information for this story provided by the Office of the Governor.