BATON ROUGE, La.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Amerigroup Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup Louisiana, has joined the March of Dimes to expand access to CenteringPregnancy® prenatal care across Louisiana. A $50,000 grant provided by the Foundation will increase opportunities for pregnant women to participate in CenteringPregnancy programs, which have been proven to enhance quality of care by bringing women together in group settings to access pre and postnatal care. Women who have participated in CenteringPregnancy programs have experienced improved birth outcomes with fewer incidences of preterm births and low birth weight babies. Amerigroup’s grant is expected to help approximately 300 women across the state to access this care, and is part of the Amerigroup Foundation’s work to address some of the nation’s most complex health issues.
“The Amerigroup Foundation champions innovative approaches, such as CenteringPregnancy, which better engage patients in their health, enhance care experiences and create communities of support,” said Dr. Raymond Poliquit, Amerigroup Louisiana medical director. “We are pleased to join March of Dimes in this latest effort to improve treatment for pregnant women and give more babies healthier starts in life.”
Amerigroup’s grant in Louisiana continues a long-standing relationship between the Amerigroup Foundation and March of Dimes to improve maternal and infant health. Most recently, in 2015-2016, a $1 million Amerigroup Foundation grant helped the March of Dimes provide prevention services to 6,600 women across the nation, including 3,300 who participated in CenteringPregnancy.
Louisiana Secretary of Health, Dr. Rebekah Gee, joined Amerigroup and the March of Dimes on April 6, during a grant presentation ceremony at the Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, to get a first-hand look at current CenteringPregnancy programs and to promote the importance of improving birth outcomes in Louisiana.
“In Louisiana, over 12 percent of babies are born prematurely, and we know that babies born even a few weeks early have higher rates of illness and hospitalization compared to full-term newborns,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee. “In order for us to continue to make improvements and reduce this percentage, it’s important for us to continue collaborations with organizations such as Amerigroup Foundation and March of Dimes. This new prenatal care model will help to reach and support many new moms during a critical time to increase the likelihood of a full-term birth.”
The CenteringPregnancy prenatal care model takes women out of exam rooms and puts them in group settings to access care and information. During each appointment, 8 – 12 women with similar due dates meet with each other and a designated health practitioner to access health assessments, education and peer support. Women complete conventional medical history and physical exams in a doctor’s office or clinic and are then invited to join a facilitated discussion that offers the opportunity to interact with peers and ask questions. Each CenteringPregnancy group meets for a total of 10 sessions throughout pregnancy and early postpartum.
“This grant allows the March of Dimes to provide much-needed support and services for hundreds of moms, to help them have healthy, full-term pregnancies and healthy babies,” said Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA, senior vice president and chief medical officer of the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes applauds Amerigroup Foundation for its dedication to better health for American families and their continued support of our mission to help give every baby a fighting chance.”
The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, launched in 2003, seeks to raise awareness of the problem and to lower the rate of premature birth to 8.1 percent of births by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030. To learn more about this campaign and CenteringPregnancy efforts, visit www.marchofdimes.org/prematurity.
ABOUT AMERIGROUP FOUNDATION
The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Together, with local, regional and national organizations, the Amerigroup Foundation works to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Amerigroup and its affiliated health plans serve. Amerigroup Foundation funding is focused on strategic initiatives working to address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative with five areas of focus: Healthy Heart, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Maternal Practices, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, and Healthy Active Lifestyle. These disease states and medical conditions 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 year-round 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. To learn more about the Amerigroup Foundation, please visit www.anthem.foundation.
ABOUT THE MARCH OF DIMES
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram and Twitter.