The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) launched a national strategy on April 20 to address racial health disparities, starting with maternal health.
The AHA and providers have been focused on reducing health inequities and addressing the societal factors that influence health for some time, and now a major payer has committed to changing the trajectory of racial health disparities by reimagining a more equitable health care system.
The organization, which represents 35 Blues plans across the country, aims to reduce racial disparities in maternal health by 50% over the next five years as the first target in its National Health Equity Strategy, part of the BCBSA Pledge to Make Meaningful Change.
The comprehensive National Health Equity Strategy relies on close collaboration with partners that have a similar commitment. It includes collecting data to measure disparities, scaling effective programs, working with providers to improve outcomes and address unconscious bias, leaning into partnerships at the community level and influencing policy decisions at both state and federal levels.
This multiyear strategy is built on harnessing data analytics to measure and track disparities and taking programs that work for individual Blues plans and bringing them to scale. A national advisory panel comprising physicians, public health experts and community leaders will oversee the effort and provide feedback.
The association also plans to target behavioral health later this year, and then diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. All four health issues disproportionately impact communities of color.
Leverage the following AHA resources in your organizations’ efforts to improve maternal health equity.
- The AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity–Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) Health Equity Grant Program features 13 grantee hospitals, all members of the AHA and BCBSIL network. Meet the Grantees spotlights many of the participating hospitals, including Saint Anthony Hospital, UnityPoint and Loyola University Medical Center, all of whom focus on maternal and child health.
- Visit AHA’s Better Health for Mothers and Babies webpage to access case studies, podcasts and webinars related to maternal health equity.