Stateline, February 27, 2012

Like most southern states, North Carolina has a higher than average rate of infant deaths and premature births. Medicaid Director Craigan Gray, a trained obstetrician, shortly after taking over in 2009, began a campaign to create a new kind of program that would identify Medicaid beneficiaries with high-risk pregnancies sooner than before and use proven medical procedures to help prevent problems at birth. Launched less than a year ago, Gray's program, called pregnancy medical homes, is showing promise. And this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $43 million grant program aimed at lowering premature births in the Medicaid program.

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