Raleigh women’s clinic has unique approach to cut infant mortality rate

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Having a baby is usually a time of joy, but of every thousand babies born in North Carolina, statistics show seven will die before their first birthday. A local health care office is working to change that with a unique model of women’s health care.

Wanett Mims knows what it’s like to be pregnant without private insurance.

“My daughter, when I had her I was pregnant at 18 years old. I had Medicaid. I was in school and it didn’t mean that I didn’t deserve good care,” she said.

She also knows that, economically, it can be tough for some doctors to take on Medicaid patients.

“It’s not that physicians don’t want to care for these patients, it’s just that practically they can’t operate a business and be able to do so,” she explained.

Now she, and business partner Dr. Katie Barrett, work to make sure Medicaid patients have access to health care. A-plus family care in Wake County offers primary care, pediatrics, and OB-GYN services.

According to 2018 statistics from North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, the state’s infant mortality rate is above the national average and the mortality rate for African-American babies is more than twice that of white babies. Mims and Barrett want to change that. Their practice focuses on making sure prengant women get the prenatal care they need from the beginning.

“We provide care the moment that they’re pregnant even if their Medicaid is still pending,” noted Barrett.

Midwives and nurse practitioners provide healthcare at the office, and they work with private practice doctors for deliveries at Rex hospital. They say access to social workers and parenting classes is also vital.

“We are able to provide resources and education to have healthier babies,” said Mims. “If I would’ve known at 18 that I could breastfeed and there was a pump and I could still go to school and leave the baby back with dad, I would’ve did it. I didn’t know and so now we are able to offer those programs and education to the moms that we have.”

The office accepts Medicaid and private insurance and has two locations. One on Garner Road in southeast Raleigh, and one on New Bern Avenue in northeast Raleigh.

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