VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Nov. 13, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- James G. Carlson, Chairman and CEO of AMERIGROUP Corporation (NYSE: AGP), issued this statement on America's "Premature Birth Report Card," which was released November 12 by the March of Dimes:
"Every baby born in America deserves a fair chance to grow up in good health. But as the March of Dimes makes all too clear with its 'Premature Birth Report Card,' that is not the case today. Studies show that babies born prematurely often contend with illnesses that linger throughout childhood. Yet the March of Dimes found that our Nation's overall rate of premature births is far too high, varies dramatically from state to state and is going up.
"AMERIGROUP considers this a national crisis. As a healthcare company that operates Medicaid programs for 11 states, we serve 1.7 million people and covered 62,000 child births in 2007. All of our members are financially vulnerable and many are African-American, Hispanic or other minorities -- all groups that suffer a high incidence of premature birth. Yet mothers covered by AMERIGROUP have a premature birth rate of about 9.6 percent, which is considerably less than the overall national figure of 12.8 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's almost half the premature birth rate among African-Americans, 18.4 percent, a statistic we should all find shocking and tragic.
"AMERIGROUP's doctors, nurses and social workers strive to connect pregnant women with the right medical care as early in their pregnancy as possible. Their work makes an enormous difference in the lives of mothers and children. And as fewer babies begin life in a hospital intensive care unit, the cost of their healthcare goes down.
"But as the March of Dimes Report Card shows, no one -- including our Company -- is accomplishing enough. None of America's 50 states earned an 'A' by achieving a premature birth rate of 7.6 percent -- the goal set by the federal government in its National Healthy People 2010 report.
"We have a moral obligation to give our children a healthy start. We urge President-elect Barack Obama and Congress to expand Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to ensure ALL of America's children have an equal chance at good health. We must act now. Our children simply can't wait."
About AMERIGROUP Corporation
AMERIGROUP Corporation, headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia,
improves healthcare access and quality for the financially vulnerable,
seniors and people with disabilities by developing innovative managed
health services for the public sector. Through its subsidiaries, AMERIGROUP
Corporation serves approximately 1.7 million people in Florida, Georgia,
Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. For more information, visit
Investors: Julie Loftus Trudell
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations
News Media: Kent Jenkins Jr.
Senior Vice President, External Communications
|SOURCE AMERIGROUP Corporation|
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