According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half a million babies in the United States – that’s one in nine – are born prematurely, before 37 weeks of gestation, resulting in potentially serious and ongoing health complications. As part of its effort to address the problem with industry-leading, quality- and outcomes-driven maternity and newborn support, WellPoint, Inc., (NYSE: WLP) today announced it will start using CareNex’s expertise in neonatal support internally, in connection with WellPoint’s care management services. WellPoint has had a relationship with CareNex Health Services, a California-based company that provides URAC-accredited neonatal medical management services, since 2009. WellPoint became the sole owner of CareNex in December 2012. Since then, WellPoint has worked to leverage CareNex’s proficiency in newborn management while accessing its clinical data repository and nationally recognized Physician Advisory Board. “Historically, across the health care delivery system, care for high-risk newborns has been far too fragmented and costly,” said Gail Borgatti Croall, MD, senior vice president of care management with WellPoint. “We believe integrating CareNex’s approach to coordinating care for the highest risk newborns as part of our goal to improve maternity-related care will offer our affiliated health plan members greater access to the support they need, when and where they need it most.” "Ensuring that clinically complex infants and women with high-risk pregnancies have access to timely, quality health care has been CareNex’s priority. We are pleased that our collaboration with WellPoint will further enable mothers and babies to have access to personalized and thoughtfully coordinated medical resources and benefits,” said Pedram Salimpour, MD, president and co-founder of CareNex Health Services. Integrating CareNex’s capabilities into WellPoint’s overall maternity and infant care management strategy among its affiliated health plans will enable WellPoint to continue building more robust pre- and post-natal, consumer-centered benefits and benefits management services. This integration also underscores WellPoint’s commitment to promoting patient-centered care and improving the coordination of care across the health-care spectrum.