Maternal & Child Health Newsletter, Iss. 19
News from NIHCM
NIHCM is pleased to announce that it has won a 3-year cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). The project is entitled “Alliance for Information on Maternal & Child Health.” NIHCM Foundation has collaborated with MCHB for the past thirteen years under several consecutive cooperative agreements and grants to provide information and foster communication to improve maternal, child and adolescent health. The activities conducted under the Alliance for Information (AIM) program will allow NIHCM to increase health plan decision makers’ understanding of and commitment to maternal and child health and facilitate public-private sector interaction and collaboration in order to improve health programs for women, children and adolescents.
Summaries of Recent MCH News
- New Opportunities to Prevent & Treat STDs Among Adolescents & Young Adults
- The Case for Managed Care to Support Local Nurse-Family Partnership Programs
- A Call to Action to Support Continued Breastfeeding
Promising Practices in MCH
Under several projects funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), NIHCM has been working with health plans to improve their maternal and child health programs and practices for over 13 years. This work has focused on the exchange of information between the health insurance community, the federal government and other national MCH stakeholders through meetings, webinars and publications. In order to continue to build the MCH infrastructure and capacity of health plans, NIHCM has created this Promising Practices in MCH program to 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.
Health Plan Initiatives to Improve MCH
BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina presented at the Marcé Society conference, an international forum on prenatal and postpartum mental health. As the only health plan to present at the conference, BlueChoice HealthPlan related its efforts to increase awareness about postpartum depression and provide members and physicians with tools to improve diagnosis and treatment rates. Visit BlueChoice HealthPlan’s website for more information about the presentation and for a broader look at the plan’s Great Expectations Maternity program.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) is reporting promising results from the first year of its Alternative Quality Contract (AQC) agreements. These multi-year contracts with physicians and hospitals aim to lower costs and improve outcomes through a quality-based payment system. The AQC model has made significant progress in preventive care areas, like cancer screenings and well-child visits, where the rate of performance improvement among AQC groups is triple that of non-AQC groups.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation awarded a nearly $3 million grant to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) to support patient safety training through an interdisciplinary simulations program. A study in Pediatrics illustrates that approximately 70,000 children hospitalized in the United States experience an adverse event each year and that 60% of these events may be preventable. The new UTHSC program will work to reduce these statistics by enabling students from a broad spectrum of health care disciplines to practice safe, collaborative patient care.
The Wellmark Foundation has awarded four grants totaling $185,000 to South Dakota community ventures focused on childhood obesity and wellness. The funded projects include: Dakota Rural Action’s farm-to-school program, which aims to increase consumption of fresh, local foods in schools and to educate children about healthy eating and agriculture; a health and fitness program for girls, developed by Girl Scouts – Dakota Horizons, that will provide education and resources for local scouts and their families; Mitchell Area Charitable Foundation’s breastfeeding initiative that seeks to increase successful breastfeeding among new mothers; and a pre-diabetes awareness program through the St. Mary’s Foundation that will distribute toolkits to social service organizations.
Wellmark, Inc. is working to keep kids active and healthy through the Wellmark 3-Point Play program. This program allows Iowa and South Dakota university football and basketball teams to net funding for their local parks and recreation departments with each “3-pointer” scored. To date, Wellmark 3-Point Play has raised over $80,000 to support child wellness efforts such as a playground renovation in Cedar Falls, Iowa and a new skateboard park and ice-skating rink in Vermillion, South Dakota.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) wants Floridians to vote on how to direct their philanthropic efforts each month. They have recently launched a new social media program called “The Pursuit,” which allows visitors to the BCBSF Facebook page to choose from a list of three worthy non-profits. Winners will receive a donation of $3,000, while runners-up will each receive $1,000.
The MCH Library at Georgetown University has developed two new resource briefs. The Breastfeeding Resource Brief includes an annotated list of websites, as well as links to recent publications and breastfeeding organizations. The Child Safety and Injury Prevention Resource Brief describes child safety related websites and includes a list of topical MCH Library resources.
The National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) has released a paper entitled “The Impact of the Economy on Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Programs and Services in Urban Local Health Departments.” Through the findings of a focus group of local health department (LHD) staff, this paper examines the impact of the economic recession on maternal, child and adolescent health programs in urban LHDs. The publication is available to download from NACCHO’s online bookstore.
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Maternal and Child Health Project has updated “Making the Case,” its online resource for developing cost-based arguments in favor of MCH programs. Updates to the webpage include new annotated bibliographies on breastfeeding, contraception access and obesity prevention, as well as two additional examples of state program cost analysis.
The CDC is now offering an online violence prevention course called “Principles of Prevention” (POP). POP is a free interactive training program that offers critical information about primary prevention, the social-ecological model, and the public health approach to violence prevention. Registration information is available here.
The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law launched a new webpage to help LGBTQ youth in foster care understand their rights and find sources of support. “It's Your Life,” a companion to the center’s book of the same name, offers links to important resources, personal stories and guidance on key questions.
NACCHO and CityMatCH recently held the fourth capacity-building webinar in their Emerging Issues in Maternal and Child Health webinar series. This webinar, “Strengthening Your MCH Workforce through Cultural Competency,” discussed applying cultural competency lessons to local MCH programs, with an emphasis on home visiting programs. An archive of the webinar is available here.
CityMatCH and Contra Costa Health Services unveiled their new Online MCH Life Course Toolbox. The toolbox functions as a centralized information clearinghouse for life course tools and resources. It also includes a discussion board for professionals to share knowledge about best practices and ideas for utilizing the Life Course Perspective in MCH work.