Maternal & Child Health Newsletter, Iss. 25
News from NIHCM
NIHCM recently published a new issue brief, “Investing in the Future Health Care Workforce.” This brief highlights the work of several health plan foundations that are helping to build community capacity to meet the growing demand for health services through grant programs and initiatives. The brief also outlines strategic opportunities for health plan foundation to have even greater impact in the future.
NIHCM Foundation hosted a webinar entitled “Payment Reform: State & Private Sector Collaborations,” which explored current approaches to health care payment reform. One approach highlighted was the Arkansas Payment Improvement Initiative underway in Arkansas that focuses on rewarding value and patient health outcomes for five episodes of care, including perinatal care and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The webinar featured presentations by Steve Spaulding, Enterprise Networks, Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield; John Selig, Arkansas Department of Human Services; Dana Gelb Safran, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Nancy Kane, Harvard School of Public Health; James C. Robinson, Berkeley Center for Health Technology, University of California, School of Public Health.
Summaries of Recent MCH News
- Reducing Disparities in Pediatric Asthma: Health Plan Augmentation of Federal Efforts
- Achieving Optimal Mental Health in Children and Adolescents: Opportunities and Resources for Health Plans
- Local Perspectives and Recommendations on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome by CityMatCH
Promising Practices in MCH
NIHCM recently published a new fact sheet in our Promising Practices in Maternal and Child Health series, which emphasizes collaborative partnerships between health plans and others in the MCH community. Preventing Early Childhood Obesity in North Carolina highlights a new initiative, Shape NC, that is joining grant funding and training resources with a vast network of community-based alliances to improve the health policies, practices and facilities of child care providers in North Carolina.
We continue to update our Promising Practices in Maternal & Child Health searchable database, a collection of emerging and promising health plan programs and collaborations. This database allows you to learn more about the MCH activities and priorities of health plans and foundations from across the country with a goal of facilitating program replication and fostering new collaborations between health plans and other MCH stakeholders, especially those working in communities and in the public sector. We invite you to submit your public-private partnership success stories for inclusion in the Promising Practices in MCH database.
Health Plan Initiatives to Improve MCH
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation has announced the projects funded under its new Connect for Health Challenge. This grant-making initiative to foster healthy social connections in Minnesota’s low-income communities used a social networking platform to engage community members in sharing resources and voting for the top grant winner. Twenty-two projects were awarded a total of $510,000, including a group offering healthy cooking workshops for families, a gardening and conservation youth internship program, and a sexual health peer-education program for teens.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is teaming up with Radio Disney for the annual Get Active, Get Fit School Challenge. This program motivates elementary school kids to exercise 20 minutes a day through fun activities and a little friendly competition between schools. All participating schools are entered in a drawing for gym equipment, and the schools with the highest participation will earn Radio Disney Dance Parties.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has launched two initiatives to improve the nutrition and physical activity of children and adults in North Carolina. Nourishing North Carolina is a joint project of BCBSNC and the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association that aims to extend an existing public-private collaboration on community gardens statewide and establish a garden in each of the North Carolina’s 100 counties by the end of 2013. BCBSNC’s Get Outside, North Carolina! is a new four-year initiative to promote outdoor activity through investments in bike share programs and trail building.
Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) has released a free mobile app to help expectant fathers support healthy prenatal behavior. Duty Calls, a part of the HCSC’s Special Beginnings® maternity program, was created in response to focus groups and research showing that expectant dads are often unsure of their roles. The app’s features include a due date countdown, a to-do list, a knowledge library, a note pad for doctor’s appointments and a contraction timer.
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation (BCBSSC Foundation) has granted $51,000 to Communities in Schools, a national school dropout prevention organization, to bring its reproductive education program to five South Carolina high schools. The program will provide pregnancy prevention and sexual health resources to 3,400 students, and it will target case management services to high-risk teens.
BCBSSC Foundation also recently awarded $2.6 million in grants to initiatives related to childhood obesity, oral health care and the nurse practitioner workforce. Grantees include S.C. Eat Smart Move More for an obesity prevention community action plan, Classy Smiles to provide in-school dental services, and First Steps of Charleston County to bring the Nurse Family Partnership program to low-income, first-time mothers.
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield celebrated the start of the new school year with their “Pack’n It In—Lunch Box Prep” workshop for parents and kids. This free event offered demonstrations of easy, healthy lunch ideas by Faith Anaya from Kids Cook!, a nutrition label reading activity, and healthy snacks and recipes.
The Highmark Foundation has awarded an additional $100,000 grant to Butler Memorial Hospital (BMH), renewing its funding for the hospital’s Maternal Services Program. This program provides medical, nutritional and home health care to low-income and uninsured women and children. After an initial Highmark grant to support prenatal care and home visitation, the BMH program exceeded its project goals, decreasing no-show postpartum visits and reducing the low birth weight rate from 2.6 to 1.5 percent.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation has announced a three-year, $755,000 grant to bring The OrganWise Guys to 180 schools in Tennessee by 2014. The OrganWise Guys is an evidence-based curriculum that uses lovable, organ-shaped characters to illustrate to kids how nutrition and physical activity affect the body. The Tennessee Health Foundation is partnering in this initiative with the state Office of Coordinated School Health, which will choose the participating schools based on need, location and resources.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has awarded four $75,000 grants to innovative programs to improve nutrition and access to healthy food for struggling families in Massachusetts. The 75th Anniversary Grant winners are Boston Natural Areas Network, to increase and improve urban community gardens; Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council, to provide nutritional education for kindergarteners and their families; Project Bread in partnership with Lynn Economic Opportunity, to improve the quality of meals served at Head Start; and the Urban Food Initiative, to provide access to high quality food at up to 60% off the typical retail price.
Grantmakers in Health (GIH) has released two new Views from the Field publications that highlight strategies health foundations have used to improve maternal and child health. “Health Foundation for Western and Central New York’s Maternal and Child Health Initiative” describes how the foundation targeted its efforts by conducting an environmental scan of providers, identifying regional “hot spots” with poor outcomes and interviewing community members. “Rethinking Juvenile Justice: Promoting the Health and Well-Being of Crossover Youth” explains the importance of and the evidence for promoting the healthy development of young people who have been in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) has released a compendium entitled “Forging a Comprehensive Initiative to Improve Birth Outcomes and Reduce Infant Mortality: Policy and Program Options for State Planning.” This document provides a synthesis of recommendations, case studies and specific action plans to guide state efforts in improving birth outcomes.
AMCHP also recently published a fact sheet summarizing the provisions of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that support breastfeeding. “Health Reform: What is in it to Promote Breastfeeding?” covers new requirements for health insurers, funding opportunities for community-based breastfeeding promotion, protections for nursing mothers in the workplace and strategies for the maternal and child health community to maximize these elements of the reform law.
CityMatCH highlighted the problem of housing insecurity and maternal and child health in the Spring/Summer 2012 edition of CityLights, “Building Communities Through Collaboration.” One article in the issue details the Healthy Start in Housing initiative developed by Boston Housing Authority to help pregnant women maintain stable housing and to combat racial disparities in birth outcomes. A second article describes federal interagency collaboration on affordable housing and public health.
The National SUID/SIDS Resource Center website has been revitalized in an effort to improve access to the research and educational tools housed there. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently presented a webinar, now archived, to review the resources available.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a report on essential health benefits (EHBs) for children. This report compares the benefits and cost-sharing policies of several federal, state and small group plans to determine how well they meet the needs of children. It also identifies areas of concern for the federal government and states to consider in determining state benchmark plans.
HealthyChildren.org, the AAP’s children’s health website for parents, has launched a new, free e-magazine. The inaugural issue covered back-to-school topics, such as immunizations, school physicals and the importance of breakfast. The magazine can be accessed through the HealthyChildren app for Apple and Android, which also includes the AAP’s Find a Pediatrician and Ask the Pediatrician features.
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has released a new issue brief entitled “State Options for Enhancing Health Information Exchange for MCH Systems.” This brief identifies state health information exchange (HIE) challenges for maternal and child health data systems, and it presents promising practices and insights garnered from a review of state HIE efforts.
AMCHP and ASTHO co-hosted a webinar entitled “Improving Birth Outcomes in the U.S.: State Efforts to Reduce Prematurity,” and the recording is now available on AMCHP’s website. This webinar focused on the ASTHO President’s Challenge: The Healthy Babies Initiative, which aims to reduce prematurity in the U.S. by eight percent by 2014, and presenters discussed the strategies of several states who have met or are working toward that goal.
Family Voices has published a booklet called “Getting to Know Title V” to promote understanding of the services available through Title V of the Social Security Act. This publication explains the history of Title V, its appropriations and requirements, and how it can benefit families.
Family Voices has also released the second edition of the Bright Futures Family Pocket Guide: Raising Healthy Infants, Children and Adolescents. This guide, developed in partnership with the AAP, has been reorganized with lots of new information for parents to use as a reference in planning doctors’ visits and in developing questions for their children’s health professionals. For more information, see NIHCM's recent newsletter article about the pocket guide.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recently hosted its 2012 Legislative Summit. The event included several sessions on maternal and child health issues, including “Fresh Food—A Recipe for Healthy Schools and Communities,” “Small Change Adds Up: Opportunities to Save Medicaid Dollars,” and “Oral Health: Opportunities for Cost Savings.” Many of the slide presentations are available for download from the NCSL website.
The National Maternal & Child Oral Health Resource Center at Georgetown University has released a guide to oral health care during pregnancy. The guide catalogs recent journal articles, handouts, briefs, guidelines, tools and events on the topic, and it is designed to assist health system stakeholders in developing programs and policies to promote the oral health of pregnant women.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will host a new Public Health Grand Rounds session on October 16 at 1:00 pm, "Public Health Approaches to Reduce U.S. Infant Mortality." Presenters from CDC, AAP and HRSA will speak about public health, clinical and policy strategies to improve birth outcomes, particularly for high risk individuals and communities.
AMCHP will offer four preconference training sessions on December 11th prior to the CDC's 18th Annual Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Conference co-hosted with the 2012 CityMatCH Urban MCH Leadership Conference. Training topics include spatial analysis, quality improvement, scientific writing and leadership.