25 Ark. hospitals awarded in Medicaid program

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Arkansas Department of Human Services says 25 hospitals have received $4.1 million in bonus payments for improving the quality of care that patients receive.

Arkansas Medicaid handed out the awards to hospitals as part of its pay-for-performance Inpatient Quality Incentive program. The program tracks hospitals' performance in several categories, including the number of elective births for women before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

Arkansas' Medicaid Medical Director Dr. William Golden says that babies born before 39 weeks are at greater risk of complications.

The agency says that in 2009, 33.6 percent of all births in Arkansas happened in weeks 37 and 38. In 2011, that number dropped to 27 percent.

Baptist Health Medical Center, Washington Regional Medical Center and Sparks Regional Medical Center are among the hospitals that received awards.