A new project of the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership seeks to provide a better understanding of the extent and cost of the problem of perinatal substance use and to help implement effective interventions to reduce the impact. With funding from the Claude W. Benedum Foundation, and in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Hospital Association, the Perinatal Partnership is implementing a Quality Improvement initiative aimed at improving the identification, diagnosis and treatment of substance exposed infants in West Virginia. This project is being rolled out to hospitals in a two-step process:
- Educational workshops held within each delivery hospital on identification, diagnosis, documentation and coding of intrauterine exposure and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in newborns; and
- Implementation of a broader Quality Improvement initiative to enhance treatment and care of infants affected by substance abuse.
One goal of the project is to improve our ability to track trends, prevalence and costs associated with this epidemic. Additionally, the project, through its QI initiative seeks to enhance the treatment and care of the infants and families affected by substance use, while reducing costs associated with caring for these newborns.