Maternal Health
Published April 11, 2022

Top Ten Maternal Health Equity Actions


One year ago, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association set a bold goal to reduce racial disparities in maternal health by 50% in five years. Over the past 12 months, we uncovered key insights to inform our work ahead and drive similar action throughout the maternal health ecosystem.

Racial disparities in maternal health span education levels, socioeconomic status, age and geography—pointing to deeper-seated issues like underlying chronic conditions, racial inequities and bias within the health care system that must be addressed systemically and across a woman’s life span—not just while she is pregnant.

Meaningful actions must combat the cultural, operational and structural barriers that have created inequities that exist today, while also addressing disparities in maternal health.

Guided by the actions underway by BCBS companies, we identified 10 tangible steps organizations can adopt to improve maternal health and make a measurable difference in health disparities.

We alone cannot measurably impact the health inequities women of color face today. And if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot solve system-wide problems in a vacuum—particularly when lives are at stake.

We’re calling upon leaders in the public and private sectors to adopt these 10 actions, and join BCBS companies as we work toward a shared vision of safer, equitable care for all mothers.

Engage maternal voices and community stakeholders to craft, build and sustain a holistic maternal health program. Form public and private partnerships to address root causes of disparities, inequalities and Social Determinants of Health (SDOH).
Provide access to cultural humility and unconscious bias training for everyone in the maternal care continuum.
Include nurse-midwives and birthing centers in provider networks and design programs to increase education and awareness for members.
Facilitate access to doulas and community health workers for maternal support services.
Implement facilitated self-management or peer prenatal care models such as CenteringPregnancy.TM
Expand benefit coverage to ensure postpartum care including behavioral health care to one year post-delivery.
Align quality measurement with national standards-setting organizations and tie back to provider quality programs.
Join and participate in a Perinatal Quality Collaborative.
Implement value-based contracts specific to maternal health.
Amplify programs of special significance such as vaccination programs with a focus on COVID-19 and influenza.
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