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Birth Score - NICU Infant Screening Objectives

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The goal of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) infant screening is to reduce the incidence of possibly preventable infant death, disease and/or developmental disability among West Virginia Medicaid eligible infants who were West Virginia NICU patients following birth. The primary objective is to coordinate an infant screening system that:

  1. Identifies WV Medicaid and SSI eligible NICU infants who meet the eligibility requirements for enrollment into the Right From the Start Project; and

  2. Links these infants with a primary pediatric provider for continuous medical follow-up and the Right From the Start Project for in-home care coordination during the infantís first year of life.

The NICU infant screening system is designed to assure that this most vulnerable infant population is offered the enhanced intervention and support of Right FromThe Start care coordination regardless of the infantís Birth Score status. The criteria for NICU infant referral includes the presence of one or more of the following conditions:

  1. A NICU/hospital length of stay of 10 or more days;
  2. A diagnosed congenital abnormality;
  3. An infant with a High Birth Score;
  4. A referral from the attending neonatologist that may include concern for the infantís welfare or safety; or
  5. An infant discharged to home on technology such as oxygen or monitor.

When it is determined that an infant meets NICU referral criteria, the parents and the infantís primary pediatric provider are informed. The infant is referred to the Right From the Start Project where a registered nurse or licensed social worker is assigned to visit the home to assess the infantís and familyís needs and, with family permission, to coordinate the health, psychosocial and nutritional care for the infant until age one year.

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