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BCBSIL Expands Commitment to Helping Moms and Babies

CHICAGO — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is bringing additional support and resources to make a critical impact on the health of moms and babies in Illinois with the launch of an expanded Special Beginnings® maternal and infant health initiative. The program aims to improve health outcomes by increasing access to care, reducing care gaps, and educating and engaging residents on a community level.

The initiative builds on foundational work already underway to advance maternal and infant health. It includes increased support for members, as well as additional focus on partnering with key stakeholders in the community, including clinical partners. By collaborating with trusted community organizations and partners, BCBSIL can leverage their knowledge, experience, and talents on a local level to help support healthier communities.

“With the greater needs of mothers and babies in underserved and rural communities, we need to expand our services in a more intentional and holistic way,” said Dr. Dona Perry, medical director for BCBSIL. “Access to preconception and pregnancy nutrition, vitamins, and healthy behaviors are vital factors. Through our renewed focus on maternal and infant health care, we’re working to create better opportunities for healthier, happier mothers and children.”

BCBSIL will prioritize:

  • promoting enhanced quality in birthing locations across Illinois, with a focus on health equity;
  • providing resources to community-based organizations that address the social determinants of health; and
  • supporting the expansion of the maternal health workforce, including doulas and midwives to reduce perinatal disparities.

Efforts will focus on helping women and families through pregnancy planning, childbirth and beyond, concentrating on county-level maternity care deserts as outlined in the most recent state Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report.

This expanded Special Beginnings initiative is just one of the ways BCBSIL has demonstrated its commitment to improving maternal and infant health. Other highlights include bringing Centering Healthcare Institute’s CenteringPregnancy program to nine Illinois practices specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. CenteringPregnancy is an evidenced-based group prenatal care model that has been shown to improve birth outcomes. Additionally, previous Blue Impact℠ grants have focused on maternal and infant health, and pregnancy and motherhood-related programs are offered at the three Blue Door Neighborhood Center℠ locations in Chicago.

BCBSIL also sponsors partnerships with hospital providers to improve maternal health and reduce disparities. A recent meeting of providers in the BCBSIL Health Equity Hospital Quality Incentive Pilot Program focused on maternal health equity. 

“Our hospital partners are showing sustained improvements in avoidable c-section rates, maternal hypertension management, and reductions in severe maternal morbidity,” said Dr. Derek Robinson, divisional senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSIL. “In some cases, disparities in these clinical care categories were even eliminated, demonstrating the strength of intentional partnerships to advance maternal health equity.” 


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is the largest health insurer in Illinois, serving 9 million members and operating in all 102 Illinois counties. BCBSIL is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Media Contact

Dave Van de Walle
(312) 653-9673

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association