Last April, Independence Blue Cross announced its support of a National Health Equity Strategy championed by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association to confront the nation’s crisis in racial health disparities. As part of that ambitious initiative, BCBSA set a national goal to reduce racial disparities in maternal health by 50 percent in the next five years.
Independence has advanced this strategy by taken a leading role in developing programs and cultivating collaborations to help improve maternal health. Among these are:
- Keystone Connection to Wellness: Independence is working with Project HOME and AmeriHealth Caritas to address significant health disparities experienced in North Philadelphia. Through this initiative, expectant mothers in North Philadelphia are participating in Project HOME’s Centering Pregnancy and Centering parenting programs to help ensure healthy pregnancies and children. Keystone Connection to Wellness is a pilot within the recently announced Accelerate Health Equity collaboration that includes Independence, AmeriHealth Caritas, the City of Philadelphia plus regional health systems and educational institutions.
- Baby Blueprints®:Using predictive modeling, Independence can better understand how social determinants of health impact high-risk maternity patients. This work includes behavioral health screenings and assessments for factors including transportation, food security and financial wellbeing.
- Bright Start Maternity Program: Independence’s medical assistance managed care subsidiary, Keystone First, offers this maternal health program. Itis dedicated to ensuring members receive early and ongoing prenatal care to achieve healthy outcomes.
- The Independence Blue Cross Foundation. The Independence Blue Cross Foundation supports a range of efforts to improve access to maternal health care, including:
- Supporting nearly 60 nonprofit health clinics in the region, some of which provide quality maternal health services.
- Supporting a novel study, led by Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Nemours Children’s Hospital on the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on pre-term birth outcomes.
- Launching the Institute for Health Equity, a regional endeavor to address policies and practices that have hindered communities from achieving optimal health.
As the insurers of one in three Americans, Blue Cross Blue Shield companies have an opportunity — and a responsibility — to confront the nation’s crisis in racial health disparities. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s multi-year, multi-faceted commitment aims to address racial inequities with a focus on availability of racial health disparity data, a national health equity program addressing conditions that disproportionately affect communities of color, national network solutions and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.