Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention designed to enhance Medicaid prenatal care in improving birth outcomes of drug-using women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Methods: Medicaid and vital statistics records were linked for 353 HIV-infected drug-using women delivering in 1993 and 1994 while enrolled in New York State Medicaid. Of these, 68% were treated by providers participating in the Prenatal Care Assistance Program, designed to provide case management, improved continuity, referral services, and behavioral risk reduction counseling. In a series of logistic models, we estimated adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of low birth weight (less than 2500 g) and preterm delivery (before 37 weeks), comparing women using and not using the program.
Results: Women using the Prenatal Care Assistance Program were significantly less likely, after adjustments were made for maternal characteristics, to have low birth weight infants and preterm deliveries (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.31, 0.89; and OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.34, 0.97, respectively). Adding measures of greater adequacy and continuity of prenatal care to the models explained just over 20% of the Prenatal Care Assistance Program's protective effect. The addition of maternal high-risk behavior, HIV-focused care, and drug use treatment variables altered program effect estimates less profoundly (together accounting for 4 and 9% of the program's protection against low birth weight and preterm delivery, respectively).
Conclusion: The Prenatal Care Assistance Program appeared to be successful in reducing the incidence of low birth weight and preterm delivery in this high-risk population. The program's success can be attributed, in part, to increased adequacy and continuity of prenatal care and, to a lesser extent, to more frequent receipt of special services and reduced maternal high-risk behaviors.