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Michigan seeks "pay for success" partners to reduce infant mortality

Michigan Dept. of Community Health

Michigan's first experiment with an idea called "pay for success" is getting underway.

The state is asking private or non-profit groups for proposals to reduce infant mortality.  

"The goal," says Snyder administration spokesman Dave Murray, "is to help high-risk mothers and their babies, through home visitation or community programs or better coordination of care up until the child's second birthday."

Murray says the selected partners would pay for the projects up front.

"They would ahead of time agree on certain goals and outcomes that can be measured," says Murray.  "And then after a certain period of time, if those goals are met and the program is working, and the state is seeing the outcome that it wants to see, only then would some of the funding be released for that program."

The "pay for success" idea is the brainchild of the Kennedy School at Harvard University.

Michigan is among the first eight states to try the idea.

Michigan's infant mortality rate has been higher than the national average for 20 years.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.