Healthcare Signs as March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign Corporate Supporter

March of Dimes
Wednesday, 25 June 2003

The March of Dimes announced today that Matria Healthcare, Inc. (NASDAQ: MATR) has signed on as a corporate supporter of the March of Dimes new five-year national campaign to decrease the growing rate of premature birth by raising public awareness regarding the seriousness and future consequences of this national crisis.

"We are gratified to have Matria Healthcare join us in this critical effort," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, March of Dimes president. "Matria's commitment to improving high-risk pregnancy outcomes while decreasing associated costs gives them a deep understanding of both the financial and emotional impact of prematurity."

As a campaign supporter Matria will provide donations to a number of March of Dimes Chapters to assist them in their statewide prematurity campaign efforts, and will co-develop educational materials highlighting the national economic impact that prematurity has on the United States. According to the March of Dimes, the total national acute hospital care bill for premature babies is estimated at $11.9 billion per year.

The annual rate of babies born prematurely has risen 27 percent since 1981. More than 476,000 babies, or nearly 12 percent of live births, are born before 37 completed weeks of gestation. Prematurity has been identified as the leading cause of infant death within the first month of life, and those who survive may suffer life-long consequences such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and blindness.

In January, the March of Dimes launched a $75 million, five-year national campaign to increase the level of awareness of this problem from 35 percent to 60 percent, and to decrease the rate of preterm birth by 15 percent.

"We are proud to work with the March of Dimes on this public health issue," said James Mieszala, president of the Women's Health Division of Matria Healthcare. "Bringing additional public awareness to the burden prematurity places on families and the healthcare system, both now and as the child develops, may help Americans find additional answers to this heartbreaking problem. Early detection, coupled with risk assessments, education and prescribed interventions, can produce the outcomes the March of Dimes and Matria are striving to achieve."

Matria Healthcare is the leading provider of comprehensive disease management programs to health plans and employers. Matria manages the chronic diseases and episodic conditions representing the greatest cost to the healthcare system, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disorders, high-risk pregnancy, cancer, chronic pain and depression. Matria's Women's Health Division provides specialized obstetrical home care services, focusing on early identification of high-risk pregnancies, improving birth outcomes and reducing costs associated with complicated pregnancies and preterm births. Headquartered in Marietta, Georgia, Matria has more than 40 offices in the United States and internationally. More information about Matria can be found online at

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at, its Spanish Web site at, or call 1-888-MODIMES.

For more information, or to contact March of Dimes, see their website at:

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