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Two New Ways We’re Committed to Reducing Maternal Health Disparities

A mother kisses and cradles her baby

It’s my privilege to serve as Executive Director of Health Equity for Independence Blue Cross (Independence). I’m here to help improve access to high-quality health care for all of our members who may be disadvantaged because of their race, ethnicity, or other factors.

The United States has a big problem when it comes to racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes. And that problem is all too evident right here in the Philadelphia area.

Independence is deeply committed to closing these unacceptable gaps. That’s why I’m excited to share two new collaborations we have in place to help people of color overcome some of the factors that can contribute to health problems before, during, and after pregnancy.

Cayaba Care

Cayaba Care is a venture-backed startup that provides pregnant and recently pregnant people with personalized in-office, in-home, and virtual services. The company offers wraparound services that include emotional and mental support, help with hospital appointments, symptom management, benefit navigation, and more.

Each person is matched with a Maternity Navigator from their neighborhood that is their main point of contact. They also have access to a care team that includes registered nurses, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, social workers, lactation consultants, and registered dietician nutritionists.

The Maternity Navigators can be a huge help to pregnant and recently pregnant people who are trying to juggle so many different responsibilities.

Independence members who have commercial health plans, and are pregnant or recently pregnant, may be eligible for Cayaba Care’s services. Cayaba Care uses a proprietary risk stratification algorithm to assess members’ social determinants of health and determine whether they would benefit from the company’s services. They also work directly with obstetricians, and with Independence, to provide an extra layer of support for members.

We are confident that working with Cayaba will help us achieve a noticeable reduction in complications and mortality rates for parents and babies during this incredibly vulnerable period in their lives.

Cocolife.black

Independence is also proud to work with Cocolife.black, a community resource designed to support Black and Brown moms during pregnancy, the postpartum period, and the loss of a child or significant loved one. Cocolife.black provides easy access to education and community resources such as free diapers, formula, and childcare services.

People who are preparing to become a mom, those who recently became a mom, or those who lost a child really benefit from feeling a sense of community. And that’s what Cocolife.black offers. They help connect you with people who understand what you’re going through and offer resources that can help you along the way.

Cocolife.black also offers access to mental health professionals and maternal health clinicians. Members should check their benefits regarding coverage of these services.

This Is Just the Beginning

Our collaborations with Cayaba Care and Cocolife.black are just a few of the ways Independence is giving childbearing parents of color and their babies the best possible chance of doing well and staying healthy. As we launch other new initiatives, and hopefully start to see real-world evidence that these approaches are making a difference, we will share this good news with you as well.

Dr. Seun Ross, DNP, CRNP-F, NP-C

About Dr. Seun Ross, DNP, CRNP-F, NP-C

Dr. Seun Ross is the Executive Director of Health Equity in the Quality Management department at Independence Blue Cross. Dr. Ross earned a bachelor of nursing and a master of science degree from Coppin State University and a doctoral degree in nursing practice with a focus on organizational leadership from Chatham University. In her clinical work as a family nurse practitioner, she has focused on achieving population health. She is an ardent proponent of health equity and is committed to achieving health justice for all vulnerable populations.