Inspired by the success of Project Baby Bear, other states have followed with their own programs to publicly fund rapid Whole Genome Sequencing for infants.
In 2021, the Michigan Health and Hospital Association launched Project Baby Deer, a statewide initiative offering rapid Whole Genome Sequencing to critically ill babies and children. The goal was to make Michigan the first state in the national to offer rWGS to all babies up to 1 year of age that meet clinical criteria, regardless of location or type of insurance.
On September 1, 2021, Michigan became the first state to make rapid Whole Genome Sequencing™ a covered benefit for eligible infants enrolled in Medicaid (contingent upon approval of a State Plan Amendment by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services).
Michigan Medicaid will reimburse hospitals for the cost of rWGS testing separate from inpatient DRG payments.
A pilot initiative led by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and funded by a Florida State Appropriation, Project Baby Manatee assessed the impact of providing rapid whole genome sequencing for critically ill infants and children with unknown illnesses, receiving care in a neonatal or pediatric intensive care unit.
Through Project Baby Manatee, 60 babies from low-income families gained access to rWGS. The pilot program resulted in estimated savings of more than $3.76 million, yielding an estimated $2.88 million return on investment, by enabling care teams to quickly address each child’s specific care needs, minimizing expenditures on additional testing and unproductive treatments.