OBJECTIVE - To compare perinatal outcomes among the managed care organizations (MCOs) providing care to beneficiaries enrolled in TennCare, Tennessee's capitated Medicaid managed care program.
DESIGN - Retrospective cohort analysis.
SUBJECTS - Infants born in Tennessee during 1995 to women enrolled in TennCare.
PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES - Prenatal care use, birth weight (BW), death in the first 60 days of life, and delivery of extremely low BW (<1000 g) infants in hospitals without level 3 neonatal intensive care units.
RESULTS - During 1995, 34 402 infants were born to mothers enrolled in TennCare. The MCOs differed widely in the demographic characteristics of their enrollees. In addition, there were small differences in prenatal care utilization, but no differences in BW outcomes among the MCOs. In multivariate analysis, however, infants born to women enrolled in 1 MCO were 2.8 times more likely to die in the first 60 days of life than were infants born to women enrolled in the largest MCO (OR: 2.81; 95% CI: 1.31-6.03). Women enrolled in this same MCO seemed to have a higher proportion of extremely low BW (<1000 g) infants delivering in a hospital lacking a level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (38% vs 20% in the largest MCO).
CONCLUSION - The differences among MCOs in early infant death and in the delivery of high-risk infants in hospitals lacking appropriate neonatal facilities suggest that monitoring of care delivery to vulnerable children should include assessment of appropriate use of specialized services.