Group of top N.J. hospitals to partner with national group on value-based maternity care model

Initiative between Healthcare Transformation Consortium, Wildflower Health also will include collaboration with leading OB-GYN practices

The Healthcare Transformation Consortium — a group of seven top health systems and hospitals throughout New Jersey — announced Friday what it is describing as a groundbreaking partnership to launch a statewide value-based maternity care initiative that will transform the delivery and financing of maternity care.

Initially, the value-based model will be delivered through a phased rollout to team members and dependents within HTC member health systems. Ultimately, San Francisco-based Wildflower Health and HTC see opportunities to expand this approach to include other payers and self-insured employers.

The Healthcare Transformation Consortium, which was formed in 2018, includes Atlantic Health System, CentraState Healthcare System, Holy Name, Hunterdon Health, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, Valley Health System and Virtua Health.

Maternal health — and the state’s poor performance, especially for women of color — has been a major initiative of first lady Tammy Murphy, who helped form Nurture NJ to address the issue.

Here’s how members of the HTC said they will address the issue in partnership with Wildflower.

The model is powered by Wildflower’s maternity bundle, a package of comprehensive digital tools to help doctors, nurses and other caregivers assist patients with care needs ranging from prenatal to postnatal. They include a digital platform that helps them engage, support and remotely monitor patients between visits while expanding access to existing resources and virtual services.

The platform also includes educational content and tools for patients, and critical data for providers that can be accessed at point of care.

Additionally, clinicians will be able to leverage health advocates and coaches from Wildflower to extend the impact of their internal teams. These advocates and coaches will serve as eyes and ears for practices, helping connect patients to available resources while also escalating care for at-risk women who need additional clinical support.

As part of this initiative, Wildflower and HTC officials said the group also will be working closely with OB/GYN practices across the state, including practices affiliated with Unified Women’s Healthcare and Axia Women’s Health. These organizations are two of the largest OB/GYN networks nationally and have a significant presence in New Jersey.

Kevin Lenahan, executive vice president, chief business & strategy officer for Atlantic Health System, said the partnership grew from a desire by HTC hospitals to deliver the highest-quality care possible to all women.

Maternal care in N.J.

Currently, New Jersey ranks No. 47 nationwide for its maternal mortality rate, with 46.5 fatalities per 100,000 live births. Black women in New Jersey are seven times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.

Nurture NJ, the group started by first lady Tammy Murphy, aims to reduce the state’s maternal mortality by 50% over the next five years while eliminating racial disparities in birth outcomes.

“This new partnership will allow the HTC to bring all stakeholders together to work for the benefit of expectant mothers, new moms and their babies,” he said. “Additionally, our physicians, nurses and team members are the most important assets to any health care system. Working with Wildflower allows us the opportunity to improve both member and physician experience, while helping reduce the cost of care and improve the quality of care for our employee health plan.”

This collaboration is one of the first regional networks of OB/GYN practices and hospitals aligning to transform care and transition toward value-based maternity care, officials said.

Along with improving clinical outcomes, this partnership aims to leverage care transformation capabilities from Wildflower that fully operationalize value-based care, a model of payment where health care professionals are compensated based upon patient outcomes instead of the number of services rendered.

With this bundle, providers can evaluate and design value-based models alongside payers; install both digital health and point-of-care decision support tools; adapt current workflows to value-based requirements; and continuously process data, both for leveraging key clinical metrics in real-time, as well as managing financial payments, reconciliations and outcomes measurement.

The maternity bundle is comprehensive, spanning from prenatal to postnatal care, and accounts for the total cost of pregnancy for both mom and baby. It ensures providers are compensated based on the best clinical care and cost containment methodologies.

Wildflower offers technology and services aimed at transforming care delivery and payment models in women’s health.

“It’s such a privilege to be part of such a significant initiative,” Leah Sparks, founder and CEO of Wildflower Health, said. “Multiple health care organizations coming together, forming a unified front to transform the trajectory of care for women; it’s just not something that happens every day. The results we produce through this collaboration will be just as unique. I hope, one day, it serves as a blueprint for how to turn the tide for maternal health outcomes.”

The Wildflower and HTC partnership officially launched Jan. 1, with the value-based model being rolled out in phases within HTC member health systems.