Context: Medicaid enhanced prenatal service (EPS) programs, including care coordination, were developed to improve birth outcomes for low-income pregnant women. In Michigan, less than a third of eligible pregnant women are enrolled in services. Physician or medical clinics provide referrals to community-based EPS.
Objective: The objective of this study was to examine physician knowledge and perceptions of EPS.
Design: A cross-sectional survey of obstetric providers was conducted in 2009. A questionnaire was created to assess understanding of the EPS program.
Setting: The study was conducted in an urban Michigan community.
Participants: Participants included a convenience sample (N = 56) of community Obstetrics and Gynecology attending physicians and resident physicians within a single, large health system.
Main Outcome Measures: Outcome measures included knowledge of the program and patient participation, referral practices, perceptions of the program, value for patients and providers, appropriateness of physicians to provide program referrals, and barriers to referring.
Results: Findings indicated that most physicians (84%) had little familiarity with EPS, 60% did not personally refer to EPS, 54% did not know whether other office staff referred to EPS, and 65% were unaware whether their patients received EPS. Yet, more than 90% of physicians reported that EPS would benefit their patients and believed that it was appropriate for them to refer all their eligible patients.
Conclusion: Further efforts should be made to better understand how physicians and EPS providers could function together on behalf of patients. Statewide Medicaid-sponsored EPS programs could serve as a valuable patient and physician resource for psychosocial risk screening, care management, education, and referral support if better utilized.