CareFirst Press Release on Awards to DC Community Organizations

CareFirst Awards $3 Million for Maternal and Child Health

CareFirst has awarded 12 organizations a total of $3 million for programs targeting underserved women and children in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Baltimore, Maryland (December 8, 2010) — CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) has awarded more than $3 million to community organizations in the District of Columbia and five Maryland Counties (Prince George’s, Baltimore, Montgomery, Allegany and Somerset), to improve health, safety and wellness for mothers and their babies. The 12 grants seek to overcome social and economic barriers for underserved women and children in an effort to lower infant mortality rates in Maryland and the District of Columbia, particularly in areas and among populations most at risk.

“An alarming disparity exists among social and economic lines for the birth outcomes of Maryland babies,” said Chet Burrell, CareFirst President and CEO. “The grants we are awarding support programs that will help women today and reach into the future, eliminating barriers in underserved communities. When combined with our partnerships in Baltimore City and northern Virginia, CareFirst’s total commitment to initiatives that improve maternal and child health outcomes exceeds $7.6 million in funding.”

According to state data, African American infants are greater than three times more likely to die before their first birthday than Caucasian infants. Maryland’s overall infant mortality rate is 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. While the number is a 10 percent improvement over the previous year (2008), there has been an increase among African American infants, from 13.4 to 13.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The mortality rate among Caucasian infants is 4.1 per 1,000 live births. Grant recipients include:

* In Prince George’s County, CareFirst has awarded Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, Inc., a three-year grant for $1,053,508. The Mary’s Center program, the “Innovative Maternal Health Clinic Collaborative,” at the Judith Hoyer Center, provides comprehensive medical services for severely underserved women and infants in Prince George’s County.

* The Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, Inc., has been awarded a $300,000 grant to expand its “Neonatal ICU Collaborative,” active in 27 hospitals throughout Maryland, D.C., and northern Virginia.

* Franklin Square Hospital, in Baltimore County, has been awarded a grant for $252,060, for programs that support breastfeeding, safe sleep practices and minimizing prenatal depression.

* The Allegany County Health Department has received $20,000 funding to help women with a history of substance abuse receive monthly case management.

* Child Center and Adult Services, Inc., in Montgomery County, has been awarded $130,000 for its “Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies: Early Intervention for Women with Perinatal Depression” program.

* Family Health and Birth Center, Inc., in D.C., has been awarded $364,276 for its “Breastfeeding Peer Counselor/Community Health Worker” program. The program reaches out to women in D.C. Wards 5, 7 and 8.

* Holy Cross Hospital Foundation’s “Prenatal Education and Outreach for Teens” program, in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, has been awarded $22,400 to educate teens on how to safely give birth and maintain good health for mother and child.

* The March of Dimes Foundation has been awarded $263,314 for its “Mama and Baby Bus” program, which provides maternal and child health care in D.C. Wards 1, 2, 4 and 5.

* The Providence Hospital Foundation has been awarded $100,000 for its “Teen Centering Pregnancy and Home Visitation” program. The grant will help continue prenatal and post-delivery care programs for teens living in D.C. Ward 5.

* St. Ann’s Infant and Maternity Home has been awarded $15,000 for its “Teen Mother Baby” program, which provides comprehensive maternal and child health for at risk teens in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties and the District of Columbia.

* The Somerset County Health Department will receive $150,000 over three years to fund a full-time addictions counselor position, providing case management services to pregnant women in Somerset County and surrounding areas.

* The District of Columbia Health Department will receive $346,000 for its “Case Management” program, to improve birth outcomes for underserved women and infants living in D.C. Ward 8.

In addition to its statewide investment for Maryland counties and the District of Columbia, CareFirst has committed $3 million over three years to B’More for Healthy Babies, an initiative led by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to lower the rate of infant mortality in Baltimore City. In northern Virginia, CareFirst has committed $1.6 million to community initiatives engaging underserved women and children.

In its 74th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to nearly 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. Through its CareFirst Commitment initiative and other public mission activities, CareFirst supports efforts to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our Web site at www.carefirst.com or follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CareFirst_News.

Kevin Wrege

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

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