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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Texas Pediatric Society to offer enhanced trainings for providers seeing moms, babies

BCBSTX Special Beginnings® initiative continues collaborations to improve health outcomes for Texas women, children 

RICHARDSON, Texas (Feb. 28, 2024) — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and the Texas Pediatric Society are offering professional education for primary care providers and pediatricians, along with other resources, with the shared goal to improve outcomes for mothers and babies statewide. The collaboration is part of BCBSTX’s evolved Special Beginnings® maternal and infant health initiative.

The Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (TPS) is forming an advisory committee for their new Clinical Series Program, funded by a BCBSTX Special Beginnings grant. This program will develop resources and training for pediatric healthcare, including newborns to adolescents, as well as screenings and referrals for mothers experiencing postpartum depression.

In 2024, the program will prioritize postpartum depression screenings and care for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit infants. It will offer provider resources, microlearning videos, webinars, and potentially roundtables and virtual office hours for providers.

“We want to, collaboratively, find the best ways to intervene earlier in mom and babies lives to help impact healthier outcomes – whether that’s checking on mom in a place she’s already at, like a well-child or immunization visit, or providing families with tools to succeed after a NICU stay,” said Dr. Mark Chassay, BCBSTX VP and chief medical officer. “We look forward to developing this Clinical Series Program with TPS to equip providers, who are also invested in improving outcomes for Texas moms and babies, with the extra support they need all across the state.”

Each focus area will also include recruitment for a 3-to-6-month Project ECHO® training. ECHO is a training model that uses collaborative medical education and care management, where participants engage in a virtual community with peers. Participants present real, anonymized cases to specialists for discussion and recommendations, fostering continuous learning, mentoring and peer support.

“Due to pediatric subspecialist shortages, primary care pediatricians are expected to manage more complex needs and conditions. In order to manage these cases, primary care pediatricians need access to specialized resources, education and support,” said Dr. Alice Gong, President of the Texas Pediatric Society. “The Clinical Series Program we are developing with BCBSTX will focus on empowering and equipping primary care pediatricians with the tools they need in today’s environment.”

Texas providers interested in resources, webinars or Project ECHO® trainings can sign-up and find more information at in the coming months.

The Texas Pediatric Society grant builds on BCBSTX’s long-standing maternal and infant care programs as well as relationships with trusted local community organizations, health care providers and thought leaders to leverage their knowledge, experience and talents to increase access to care, reduce care gaps and educate and engage Texans at a local level.

BCBSTX’s statewide evolved Special Beginnings® initiative – focused initially on Austin/Central Texas, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, and Rio Grande Valley, aims to enhance maternal and infant health outcomes. These efforts are spurred by data indicating that 9 out of 10 maternal deaths in Texas could have been prevented. Other collaborations include:

BCBSTX’s Special Beginnings expansion aligns with recommendations in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s 2021 and 2022 maternal health equity reports, and focuses on:

  • Implementing quality-based maternal health programs to reduce preterm/low birth weight babies and obstetric/postpartum emergencies;
  • Expanding access to comprehensive health services, including behavioral health care, from preconception through postpartum;
  • Increasing public awareness and community engagement to reduce maternal morbidities, mortalities, and disparities, including expanding the maternal health workforce.


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) — the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas — is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with more than 140,000 physicians and health care practitioners, and 520 hospitals to serve more than 7 million members in all 254 counties. BCBSTX is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) (which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma and New Mexico). Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Texas Pediatric Society

The Texas Pediatric Society (TPS), the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is the premier state professional nonprofit organization of over 4,800 Texas pediatricians, physician pediatric subspecialists, and medical students. TPS believes that the most important resource of the State of Texas is its children and pledges its efforts to promote their health and welfare.

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A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association