April 27, 2011

Midwest Business Group on Health Awarded
Community Health Planning Grant to Reduce Early Elective Deliveries

United Health Foundation and National Business Coalition on Health grant
focused on improving health in Chicagoland

Cary Conway, MBGH Media Contact 

CHICAGO - The non-profit Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), one of the nation's leading business groups of private and public employers, has been selected as one of six organizations across the U.S. to receive a community planning grant from the United Health Foundation and the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH), through the Community Coalitions Health Institute.

The planning grant will enable MBGH to convene stakeholders, including employers, hospitals, physicians, health plans and patients in a “community summit” to better understand why non-medically elective deliveries exist and address how these deliveries can be reduced. MBGH will join with Quality Quest for Health, a Peoria-based regional health improvement organization, in addressing this problem on a statewide basis. The stakeholders will work to determine policy and program interventions, identify resources at the community level and produce a plan with specific health improvement goals and accountability. Interested participants should contact Larry Boress at

MBGH leads the Leapfrog Group’s effort to have Illinois hospitals report on various patient safety measures, including the number of deliveries and pre-term births. In March 2011, Leapfrog reported on the great variation in rates of non-medically related early deliveries in Illinois hospitals. MBGH, along with the Leapfrog Group, Chicago-area hospitals, health plans and other stakeholders issued a Call to Action in response to the new data finding that thousands of babies are electively scheduled for delivery too early for non-medical reasons, resulting in a higher likelihood of death, being admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and life-long health problems.

“Pre-term births are a growing issue in our community,” said Larry Boress, MBGH president and CEO. “This grant will help fund an organized, focused collaboration of patients, community leaders and providers in the Chicago area to address this problem. Through this coordinated effort we hope to demonstrate that we are able to make an impact on improving community health.”

The grants were created in response to the increasing incidence in debilitating and expensive chronic preventable disease brought to light with the publication of America’s Health Rankings® 2010, as well as the economic challenges confronting states and local communities. The other communities awarded grants are Indianapolis, Memphis, Rockford, Ill., Savannah and St. Louis.

“We at the United Health Foundation believe that health challenges can best be addressed through public-private partnerships at the state and local level,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., United Health Foundation board member and executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “Every community, no matter its challenges, has resources that can be recruited and mobilized to optimize health, prevent disease, and make a meaningful contribution. Everyone has a stake in public health so it’s essential that everyone play a role in addressing it. As health care costs continue to increase, we need to rely on community coalitions like these to ensure that preventable chronic illness is reduced and all Americans can continue to access quality care in their communities.”

United Health Foundation

Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being of communities. Since established by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed more than $176 million to improve health and health care. For more information, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.

National Business Coalition on Health

NBCH is a national, non-profit, membership organization of 53 purchaser-led business and health coalitions, representing over 7,000 employers and 25 million employees and their dependents across the United States. NBCH and its members are dedicated to value-based purchasing of health care services through the collective action of public and private purchasers. For additional information visit: www.nbch.org.

America’s Health Rankings®

America’s Health Rankings® is the longest running report of its kind. For 21 years, the Rankings has provided an analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis by evaluating a historical and comprehensive set of health, environmental and socio-economic data to determine national health benchmarks and state rankings. The Rankings employs a unique methodology, developed and annually reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Committee of leading public health scholars. For more information, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

Midwest Business Group on Health

Celebrating more than 30 years of advancing value in health care and health benefits management, the non-profit Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH) is one of the nation's leading business groups of private and public employers. MBGH's more than 100 members represent over 3 million lives, spending more than $3 billion on health care benefits annually. MBGH member benefits include educational workshops for health benefits management, networking opportunities, research, demonstration projects and community initiatives. MBGH is a founding member of the National Business Coalition on Health. www.mbgh.org.