Strong Start Amended Funding Opportunity Announcement

As part of the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns initiative, (“Strong Start”) CMS has released a funding opportunity for providers, states, managed care organizations, and conveners to test the effectiveness of specific enhanced prenatal care approaches to reduce preterm births in women enrolled in Medicaid. The goal of the initiative is to determine if these approaches to care can reduce the rate of preterm births, improve the health outcomes of pregnant women and newborns and decrease the anticipated total cost of medical care over the first year of life for children born to mothers enrolled in Medicaid and/or CHIP.

CMS received a high level of interest in the Strong Start Funding Opportunity Announcement (“FOA”), and also received numerous questions and suggestions about this initiative from organizations throughout the country interested in testing new models of prenatal care. In order to address concerns about the requirements for a successful application, CMS has revised the Strong Start FOA.

The key changes to the FOA are as follows:

  • CMS revised the FOA to remove the requirement for States to link vital records and Medicaid claims data in the Strong Start funding opportunity. Instead, applicants must be able to provide gestational age and birthweight data on births of intervention infants and from a baseline period that spans at least 2 years prior to the start of the intervention; thereby, removing the requirement to supply a Letter of Agreement from the applicant’s state(s).
  • CMS is committed to a rigorous model evaluation and, therefore, will pursue linked State vital records and Medicaid claims and encounter data through a parallel effort to the Strong Start funding opportunity.
  • In order to make these program changes, CMS has extended the program timelines and eliminated the Letter of Intent (LOI) requirement in order to allow potential applicants the opportunity to modify or develop applications that are consistent with the new information. The new application deadline for the Strong Start funding opportunity is August 9, 2012 with optional LOIs due August 8, 2012. The anticipated award date is October 5, 2012.

To assist stakeholders interested in applying for the Strong Start initiative,CMS will host a technical assistance meeting via conference call or webinar tentatively scheduled for July 11 at 3:00pm EDT. We will be sending out call-in and other information shortly.

We encourage potential applicants to review the amended FOA at

More information about the Strong Start initiative can also be found at

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