$100,000 Anthem Blue Cross And Blue Shield Foundation Grant To March Of Dimes Will Help More Ohio Babies Get A Healthy Start In Life

| Thursday, October 29, 2015

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Group-based prenatal care reduces preterm births

Mason, Ohio – October 29, 2015 – One in ten American babies is born prematurely, placing the newborn at increased risk of death, medical complications, and lifelong health challenges. To improve birth outcomes and reduce unnecessary healthcare costs, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation today announced a one-year, $100,000 grant to the March of Dimes to support group-based prenatal care.

Preterm birth costs the U.S. more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. It is the leading cause of newborn death.  Babies born even a few weeks early have higher rates of illness and hospitalization compared to full-term newborns.

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation grant will enable the March of Dimes to make group-based prenatal care available to additional women in Ohio by supporting programs across the state.

“This grant will enable the March of Dimes to help more moms get prenatal care and more babies to get a healthy start in life,” said Edward R.B. McCabe, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer of the March of Dimes. “We thank the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation for its dedication to better health for American families and their continued support of the March of Dimes mission.”

The March of Dimes launched its Prematurity Campaign in 2003. The goals of the campaign are to raise awareness of the problem and to lower the rate of premature birth to 8.1 percent of live births by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030.

CenteringPregnancy®, developed by Centering Healthcare Institute, has been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of preterm birth and low birth weight. This prenatal care model integrates the three major components of care: health assessment, education and support, into a unified program within a group setting. Eight to 12 pregnant women with similar due dates meet together, learning care skills, participating in a facilitated discussion, and developing a support network with other group members. Each CenteringPregnancy group meets for a total of 10 sessions throughout pregnancy and early postpartum. The practitioner, within the group space, completes standard physical health assessments at each session.

The new grant continues a longstanding relationship between Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and the March of Dimes. Most recently, in 2012, a $2 million grant from Anthem’s parent foundation helped the March of Dimes provide prenatal care to more than 8,000 women in 13 states via CenteringPregnancy and to roll out a quality improvement program focused on eliminating deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy that are medically unnecessary at 16 hospitals in California which collectively deliver nearly 40,000 babies annually.

“Anthem is committed to improving the lives of our members and of those in our communities across Ohio,” said Dr. Barry Malinowski, medical director for Anthem in Ohio. “As a pediatrician, I know the importance of supporting programs that can help women avoid premature deliveries and bring healthy babies into the world.”

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation is committed to addressing health disparities and improving public health. Through its State Health Index – a state-by-state compilation of public health measures – and Healthy Generations program, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield 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 birthweight and engaging mothers in prenatal care are major focus areas for the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation.


About the March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health.  With offices in every major market and its premier event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org.  Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.