CareFirst to Award $3.3 Million for Maternal and Child Health Initiatives

Grant proposals must address factors contributing to poor birth outcomes, infant mortality

Baltimore, MD (July 31, 2014) - CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) is committing up to $3.3 million over the next three years in programs seeking to improve birth outcomes and lower infant mortality rates in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia.

CareFirst, the region’s largest health insurer, has issued a request for proposals from community health centers, nonprofit organizations and public health programs focused on initiatives that address factors that contribute to improved birth outcomes and infant mortality, including:

  • safe sleep habits;
  • smoking and substance use cessation;
  • prenatal care;
  • spacing between pregnancies;
  • breastfeeding;
  • treatment of maternal mental health; and,
  • maternal obesity prevention.

Proposals must be completed using the online Maternal and Child RFP Application and submitted no later than Sept. 15, 2014. Ideal proposals will improve infant health among minority and underserved populations, be easily expanded or replicated in other communities, address at least one of the identified contributing factors to infant health and provide a plan for sustainability beyond the period of CareFirst’s funding. Collaborative programs are encouraged.

Although infant mortality rates have declined locally and nationally in recent years, the U.S. infant mortality rate exceeds that of most other developed countries. Infant mortality rates in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia lag behind the national average of 6.14, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Generally, maternal and child health outcomes in our service areas continue to lag behind the national average, and significant disparities along racial and socio-economic lines persist,” said Maria Harris Tildon, CareFirst Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs. “By expanding access and eliminating the barriers these mothers and their children face in seeking quality, affordable care, we hope to achieve lasting change that will have a real, measurable impact in these communities.”

Since 2007, CareFirst has contributed more than $10 million to maternal and child health, which is one of the insurer’s five areas of focus for its funding. CareFirst is not accepting applications for this RFP for new programs in Baltimore City because of its ongoing commitment to B’more for Healthy Babies, a program that has helped lower the city’s infant mortality rate since its launch in 2009. The company made an additional two-year commitment to B’more for Healthy Babies in 2013.

About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

In its 77th 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 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2013, CareFirst contributed nearly $57 million to community programs designed to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter: