Illinois' integrated strategy for improving maternal and child health focuses on four outcomes:

  • Reducing the very low birth weight rate
  • Reducing the low birth weight rate
  • Reducing Medicaid expenditures during the first year of life
  • Reducing the infant mortality rate

Very low birth weight infants (newborns who weigh less than 3 pounds 2 ounces) require intensive medical care. While these infants represent less than two percent of all live births, they also account for two-thirds of the infants who die in the first year of life. Interventions that reduce the very low birth weight rate will also reduce Medicaid expenditures during the first year of life and reduce the infant mortality rate.

The integrated delivery of the WIC and FCM programs is having a significant impact on the state's infant mortality rate and health care expenditures. Nine consecutive annual program evaluations have shown that the health status of infants born to Medicaid-eligible women who participated in both WIC and FCM has been substantially better than that of infants born to Medicaid eligible women who did not participate in either program. In particular, the rate of premature birth is more than 60 percent lower among participants in both programs. The rate of low birth weight is more than 35 percent lower; the rate of infant mortality is more than 55 percent lower; and health care expenditures during the first year of life are more than 30 percent lower.

Very Low Birth Weight

 All Births - Very Low Birth Weight 1997-2007

For an accessible version of the above chart data, please contact Jeff Peddycoart at jeff.peddycoart@illinois.gov.

All Births - Very Low Birth Weight Data 1997-2007

Percent of Live Births
Year Medicaid All Births
1997 2.0% 1.6%
1998 1.9% 1.6%
1999 2.0% 1.7%
2000 1.8% 1.7%
2001 1.7% 1.6%
2002 1.9% 1.7%
2003 1.8% 1.6%
2004 1.8% 1.7%
2005 1.8% 1.6%
2006 1.6% 1.6%
2007 1.7% 1.6%

The very low birth weight rate among women who participated in both WIC and FCM was 1.2 percent in 2007, one-third of the rate (3.5 %) observed among Medicaid eligible women who did not participate in either program during pregnancy.

Medicaid Expenditures in the First Year of Life

The Department is able to match information from its maternal and child health management information system, Cornerstone, with vital records maintained by the IDPH and the Medicaid Management Information System maintained by the IDHFS. This allows the Department to compare the perinatal health status of women and children who participate in several of its programs to Medicaid-eligible non-participants and the general population of pregnant women and newborns.

Very Low Birth Rate: Medicaid Eligible Infants 1997-2007

For an accessible version of the above chart data, please contact Jeff Peddycoart at jeff.peddycoart@illinois.gov.

Very Low Birth Rate: Medicaid Eligible Infants Data 1997-2007

Percent of Live Births
Year WIC & FCM Neither
1997 1.3 3.9
1998 1.4 3.7
1999 1.3 4.3
2000 1.3 3.4
2001 1.2 3.7
2002 1.3 4.2
2003 1.4 3.9
2004 1.4 3.8
2005 1.4 4.1
2006 1.3 3.3
2007 1.2 3.5

WIC and FCM, through the reduction in very low birth weight, contribute to a significant reduction in Medicaid expenditures during the first year of life.

Infant Mortality

Infant Mortality Rate

For an accessible version of the above chart data, please contact Jeff Peddycoart at jeff.peddycoart@illinois.gov.

Infant Mortality Rate Data

Year Number of Births Rate per 1,000 Births
1985 2,103 11.6
1986 2,125 12
1987 2,094 11.6
1988 2,077 11.2
1989 2,217 11.7
1990 2,090 10.7
1991 2,068 10.7
1992 1,911 10
1993 1,838 9.6
1994 1,711 9
1995 1,724 9.3
1996 1,536 8.4
1997 1,476 8.2
1998 1,505 8.2
1999 1,504 8.3
2000 1,528 8.3
2001 1,379 7.5
2002 1,304 7.2
2003 1,380 7.6
2004 1,317 7.3
2005 1,294 7.2
2006 1,343 7.4
2007 6.6

This report began with Dr. Helen Wallace's observation that the infant mortality rate is the most sensitive index of the status of economic and social development of any country. The state has made steady progress in reducing its infant mortality rate, in part, due to the improvement of birth outcomes as a result of at-risk women participating in the WIC and FCM programs. As noted earlier, and as evidenced in the next chart, the infant mortality rate is more than 60 percent lower when infants born to Medicaid-eligible women participated in WIC and FCM during pregnancy when compared to infants whose mothers did not participate in this integrated MCH program.

Medicaid Client Infant Mortality Trend: Illinois 2002-2006

For an accessible version of the above chart data, please contact Jeff Peddycoart at jeff.peddycoart@illinois.gov.

Medicaid Client Infant Mortality Trend:  Illinois 2002-2006

Year Medicaid Only WIC and/or FCM
2001 15.8 5.8
2002 17.7 6.3
2003 20.5 6.0
2004 18.9 6.2
2005 17.1 5.0
2006 18.1 6.3

Source:  Vital Records - Illinois Department of Public Health and DHS