By Rod Rose The Lebanon Reporter
---- — Money from the Indiana chapter of the March of Dimes is funding a pre-natal program at the Boone County Community Clinic. The grant was awarded to the community clinic’s HERS for HER program.
“Our goal is to decrease infant mortality,” BCCC executive director Dr. Bambi McQuade-Jones said, by getting expectant mothers “on the right road” before they see OB/GYN doctors.
“We’re working alongside the (Boone County) health department and the (Boone County) Pregnancy Center, identifying women who come in for a free pregnancy test, who are uninsured and who need care quickly,” McQuade-Jones said. WIC of Boone County is also participating, according to the March of Dimes.
For $80, women in the program will receive a one-hour consultation and up to five more office visits with a women’s health specialist and counselor. They will also qualify for a free membership at the Witham Family YMCA.
Those women are seen “within a day or two,” she said. “Our intent is to make sure they are in good health.” Clinic staff give instructions on what to do and not do in the early stages of pregnancy, such as what types of exercise to perform and avoid, what foods to eat, and other issues involved in helping the woman start a good, healthy pregnancy.
The clinic also ensures the women are eating well and have a place to stay, McQuade-Jones said.
After helping those eligible to register for Medicaid’s pregnancy coverage, the women are referred to Creekside OB/GYN at Witham Health Services.
“If they find these women need additional education or, let’s say, support, we’re going to be there for that,” McQuade-Jones said. A nurse-practitioner at BCCC will meet with those women for 30 minutes, reviewing and recommending lifestyle changes.
Up to 25 women will be seen during the one-year grant, McQuade-Jones said; the grant could be renewed.
Nearly a third — 32.4 percent — of pregnant Hoosiers did not receive adequate prenatal care in 2011, according to America’s Health Rankings. The estimate is based on the Kessner Index, which ranks care based on the number of times a pregnant woman sees a doctor before giving birth.
Indiana’s 2012 infant mortality rate was 7.40 per 1,000 live births, according to AHR.
Last year, Boone County’s infant mortality rate was 1.5 deaths in every 1,000 live births. An infant is a child younger than age 1 year.
Between 1995 and 2010, a total of 66 infant deaths were reported in Boone County, with a high of 12 in 2002 and single deaths in 1996 and 2010. Four or more infants died in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. There were two deaths each in 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2007.
There were 708 births in Boone County in 2007, 741 in 2008, 706 in 2009 and 660 in 2010, according to the Indiana Youth Institute’s Kids County in Indiana 2012 Data Book.