OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of a transition home intervention on total Medicaid spending, emergency department visits, and unplanned readmissions for preterm infants born at ≤366/7 weeks gestation and high-risk full-term infants.
STUDY DESIGN: The Transition Home Plus (THP) program incorporated enhanced support services before and after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) provided by social workers and family resource specialists (trained peers) working with the medical team from October 2012 to October 2014. Rhode Island Medicaid claims data were used to study the 321 infants cared for in the NICU for ≥5 days, who were enrolled in the THP program. THP infants were compared with a historical comparison group of 365 high-risk infants born and admitted to the same NICU in 2011 before the full launch of the THP program. Intervention and comparison group outcomes were compared in the eight 3-month quarters after the infant's birth. Propensity score weights were applied in regression models to balance demographic characteristics between groups.
RESULTS: Infants in the intervention group had significantly lower total Medicaid spending, fewer emergency department visits, and fewer readmissions than the comparison group. Medicaid spending savings for the intervention group were $4591 per infant per quarter in our study period.
CONCLUSIONS: Transition home support services for high-risk infants provided both in the NICU and for 90 days after discharge by social workers and family resource specialists working with the medical team can reduce Medicaid spending and health care use.