Maternal & Child Health Newsletter, Iss. 21
News from NIHCM
NIHCM authored an article, “Health Care Reform: Promises and Pitfalls for Maternal and Child Health,” for Grantmakers in Health’s July newsletter, which has an audience of over 2,000 health grantmakers, policymakers, academics, and other readers with an interest in health philanthropy. The article featured current efforts of WellPoint, Inc., Highmark Inc, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida to improve access and quality of care, increase understanding of health insurance options and prevent chronic conditions.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation convened their Infant Mortality in Tennessee Best Practices Forum on August 31, 2011 in Nashville, TN to help find solutions to the state’s infant mortality epidemic. Kathryn Santoro, NIHCM’s Director of Maternal and Child Health Policy and Development, delivered the keynote address, “Infant Mortality in the U.S.: Achievements and Challenges,” and grantees of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation shared their initiatives to raise awareness about the crisis, change behavior and create supportive environments. Copies of the PowerPoint presentations are available on the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee website.
Summaries of Recent MCH News
- Environmental Health and Children: Opportunities for Health Plans
- Oral Health Opportunities for Health Plans and Foundations
- Proposed Medicaid Changes Threaten Adolescent Health, by the National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health
Promising Practices in MCH
NIHCM is pleased to announce the recent publication of our first Promising Practices in Maternal and Child Health fact sheet highlighting health plan partnerships with the text4baby program. Health insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, Aetna, and 75 other commercial and Medicaid health plans are important and active partners in developing innovative strategies to encourage pregnant women and new mothers to sign up for text4baby.
NIHCM Foundation’s Promising Practices in Maternal and Child Health fact sheets recognize emerging and promising programs or policies in MCH, promote program replication and new collaborations, and create a dedicated space where health plans and other MCH leaders can share their success stories with peers. We continue to invite you to submit your public-private partnership success stories for inclusion in the Promising Practices in MCH database. Each quarter, NIHCM selects one partnership success story to highlight in a NIHCM fact sheet.
Health Plan Initiatives to Improve MCH
BlueShield of Northeastern New York (BSNENY) is partnering with the Tri-City ValleyCats baseball team in an anti-bullying campaign. The “K’s for Kids” program includes school presentations by ValleyCats players and activity booklets to help children recognize and strike out bullying. BSNENY will also donate $10 to local YMCA children’s programs for every strikeout the ValleyCats deliver at this season’s home games.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation has awarded ten new grants focused on improving access to health care for thousands of Floridians. Grantees include WomanKind, Monroe County, to offer primary and gynecological care to low-income, uninsured women; Kids in Distress, to provide dental services for uninsured children through the KID Dental Clinic; and Florida’s Vision Quest, to allow underprivileged high school students access to vision screening and eye glasses.
The WellPoint Foundation awarded a 3-year, $5 million grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to support their health and wellness program, Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul. This important national program works to motivate the roughly four million Boys & Girls Club members to eat healthier, become more physically active and develop healthy relationships.
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York donated $1 million to Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy to restore and maintain the basin in Martin Luther King Park for the next ten years. The multi-purpose basin will take on a new role each season, from splash pad to reflecting pool to skating rink, providing the community with year-round, healthy activities.
Anthem Blue Cross Foundation has funded an $815,130 grant to bring the CATCH Healthy Habits program to Southern California. Developed by the OASIS Institute, CATCH Healthy Habits teams up children and adult mentors for weekly sessions of active game play and instruction on healthy food choices. Anthem’s grant is part of parent company WellPoint, Inc.’s broader commitment to fighting childhood obesity. In April the WellPoint Foundation announced a $2.7 million grant to launch CATCH Health Habits in 18 cities nationwide.
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina has launched a health coaching program, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens, for overweight and obese members from 2-17 years of age. The program includes educational materials and personal phone calls from health coaches who help children and parents learn about weight-related health issues and develop the goals, skills and confidence to manage their weight.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) is continuing its efforts to improve infant health and reduce infant mortality by offering free breast pumps to mothers of at-risk babies treated in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. BCBST has engaged ProgenyHealth to identify eligible cases and educate mothers on the benefits of breast milk. The health plan will then provide pumps for participating mothers to use in the hospital and to take home.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation has awarded 20 $10,000 “Shape the State” grants to Tennessee middle schools. The grants will provide each school with the SPARK physical education curriculum, teacher training and equipment, as well as $1,000 to spend on physical education, nutrition and wellness initiatives.
The National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) added the new March of Dimes campaign, “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait,” to its Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Toolkit. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of full-term birth and choosing natural labor when possible.
The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) is partnering with the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality and other organizations on a national coalition to promote healthy weight. The Healthy Weight Collaborative (HWC) establishes crucial partnerships between community-based, public health and primary care organizations with a common goal of improving weight-related health behaviors and outcomes.
The National Chlamydia Coalition's implementation guide for improving chlamydia screening has been added to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Health Care Innovations Exchange. The guide contains recommendations for chlamydia screening and treatment, for notifying and treating partners, and for addressing confidentiality issues.
A new paper co-authored by Family Voices has been published in the September issue of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal, Preventing Chronic Disease. The article, “Children with Special Health Care Needs: Acknowledging the Dilemma of Difference in Policy Responses to Obesity,” considers the extent to which childhood obesity initiatives support children with special health care needs and identifies approaches for better serving this population.
Partnership for Prevention was awarded a new cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under this agreement, Partnership will form a coalition of national organizations aimed at preventing STDs, HIV, teen pregnancy, viral hepatitis and partner violence, reaching out to the general public as well as at-risk populations.
The Health Resources and Services Administration is using the upcoming celebration of Child Health Day on October 3rd as a reminder of how far maternal and child health care has come over the past 83 years and how much work is still to be done.