The Reduction of Infant Mortality in Illinois

The Family Case Management Program and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

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; and
  • 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 account for two-thirds of the infants who die in the first year of life. Interventions that reduce the very low birth weight rate also will 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.