Pennsylvania’s Largest Medicaid Health Plan Helps Launch Philadelphia Text4baby Campaign
Philadelphia, Pa. (Vocus) June 9, 2010
Keystone Mercy Health Plan, the largest Medicaid managed care organization in Pennsylvania, has partnered with The Maternity Care Coalition and the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (HMHB) Coalition, to launch the Philadelphia text4baby campaign. In supporting the new initiative, Keystone Mercy plans to educate and encourage the use of the service to its Wee Care prenatal program members. Text4baby is a free, mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health by providing pregnant women and new moms with detailed health tips, via SMS text message, to assist them in caring for themselves and their children. The program, which was launched nationwide in February 2010, has nearly 35,000 enrollees, including 1,042 participants in Pennsylvania.
Women sign up for the free service by texting “BABY” (or “BEBE,” in Spanish) to 511411. Each woman receives three, SMS text messages every week, timed to their due date or baby’s age, up to the child’s first birthday. Messages include subject matter geared toward nutrition, immunizations, labor and delivery, car seat safety, breastfeeding and mental health.
Keystone Mercy Health Plan, through its support and collaboration with text4baby, plans to promote the initiative among its more than 5,000 Wee Care prenatal program participants. Similarly to the text4baby mission, Wee Care is a program devoted to educating pregnant women and new moms on health information and available services. The most notable health series, through the Wee Care program, is the community baby shower events, where Keystone Mercy Health Plan, goes into its members communities and provides important prenatal care information and screenings. Over the last three years, Keystone Mercy has also collected and donated newborn essentials to Wee Care members.
Commenting on text4baby, Dr. Eric Berman, chief medical officer, Pennsylvania Managed Care, Keystone Mercy Health Plan said, “We are very excited to assist in presenting this new, innovative program to our members and to expectant and new mothers throughout the City of Philadelphia. More than 11,000 babies were born to our members last year, and it is our job to ensure that we continue to provide the best in health services, to both mother and baby. This program helps us reaffirm our commitment by communicating health tips and information about the child’s development, between prenatal visits.”
Similar programs use SMS text messaging technology to provide information to diabetics, smokers and to people with weight-management issues. Under each category, SMS technology has improved the health of its participants. For example, 28 percent of smokers receiving SMS messages quit smoking, as compared to 13 percent of the control group (A. Rogers et. al., “Do u smoke after txt?,” Tobacco Control 2005).
Text4baby is made possible through a broad, public-private partnership that includes government, corporations, academic institutions, professional associations, tribal agencies and non-profit organizations. Founding partners include HMHB, Voxiva, CTIA – The Wireless Foundation and Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company). Johnson & Johnson is the founding sponsor, and premier sponsors include WellPoint, Pfizer and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. U.S. government partners include the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense Military Health System. The mobile health platform is provided by Voxiva and free messaging services are generously provided by participating wireless service providers. Implementation partners include BabyCenter, Danya International, Syniverse Technologies, Keynote Systems and The George Washington University. MTV Networks is a media sponsor
About Keystone Mercy Health Plan
Keystone Mercy Health Plan, a member of the AmeriHealth Mercy Family of companies, is a Medical Assistance (Medicaid) managed care health plan serving more than 300,000 Medical Assistance recipients in southeastern Pennsylvania. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Keystone Mercy is a mission-driven company dedicated to helping members get care, stay well and build healthy communities. For more information about Keystone Mercy Health Plan, please visit http://www.keystonemercy.com.
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