BCBSGa to grant $50K to March of Dimes | Families
ATLANTA, GA - News release
According to the March of Dimes, some 19,000 of Georgia’s babies are born too soon each year.
Now, two organizations are working to give more babies a healthy start in life by supporting a group prenatal care program that has successfully reduced c-sections, preterm births and low-birthweight babies.
Today, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) announced a $50,000 grant from its corporate foundation to the March of Dimes to expand the non-profit’s group prenatal care program, CenteringPregnancy®.
CenteringPregnancy is a model of group prenatal care delivery that has successfully reduced c-sections, preterm births and low-birthweight babies.
Instead of individual appointments, women who are at similar points of their pregnancies are brought together in small groups of eight to 12.
During the approximately 10 appointments, each woman receives a private, standard health assessment from a medical practitioner.
What is unique about the program is that the women also learn health skills, participate in a group discussion, and develop a support network with other group members.
“Preterm births are tremendously costly, stressful, and – in many cases – preventable,” said Morgan Kendrick, president of BCBSGa.
“By bringing the CenteringPregnancy program to Grady and Dougherty Counties we are working to ensure moms-to-be have access to the care they need, which in turn leads to better outcomes for mom and baby alike.”
“We are proud to work with the March of Dimes because their programs have been shown to produce positive, measurable results, and because they share our commitment to prenatal care and improving health throughout our community.”
CenteringPregnancy will be implemented this year in two locations:
- Southwest Public Health District, Grady County; and
- Southwest Public Health District, Dougherty County.
“This grant will help more women have healthy pregnancies and full-term babies, and support the March of Dimes quality improvement initiatives to improve the health of babies by preventing preterm births,” said Dr. William Sexson, Neonatologist, Vice Chair, Emory Department of Pediatrics, and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs/Grady.
“By supporting these programs, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation shows that it recognizes the importance of helping expectant mothers access needed health care services.”
The grant to the March of Dimes is part of the BCBSGa’s corporate foundation’s ongoing commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health.
Through its State Health Index – a compilation of public health measures – and Healthy Generations program, the BCBSGa Foundation works to identify the issues most in need of attention and directs its charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas.
Reducing low birth weights and engaging mothers in prenatal care in their first trimester are major focus areas for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation.
The CenteringPregnancy grant in Georgia is part of a $1 million grant from BCBSGa’s parent company’s Foundation to the March of Dimes to improve prenatal care and education, and to track the results of those efforts in 14 states: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
In the United States, more than half a million babies are born preterm each year. Preterm birth, birth before 37 weeks gestation, is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine.
It is the leading cause of newborn death. Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of a lifetime of health challenges, including breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and others.
Even infants born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. The last few weeks of pregnancy are critical to a baby because many important organs, including the brain, are not completely developed until then.