Priority Health and the Total Health Care Foundation Partner with the March Of Dimes to Bring the NICU Family Support® Program to Children's Hospital Of Michigan

Feb 8, 2022

DETROIT February 8, 2022 – Priority Health, Michigan’s fastest growing health plan, announced today that it is partnering with the March of Dimes to bring the March of Dimes NICU Family Support® Program to Children’s Hospital of Michigan. The Children’s Foundation also made a grant in support of this program. The program helps support more than 50,000 families each year in more than 65 hospital partner sites by increasing families’ knowledge and confidence to care for their baby while in the NICU.

In 2019, the March of Dimes reported that 1 in 7 babies (14.6% of live births) was born preterm in Detroit. This is one of the reasons why the NICU Family Support® Program is a vital resource to improve the long-term health of NICU graduates of Children’s Hospital of Michigan. This partnership was made possible through a grant made by the Total Health Care Foundation. Founded through the merger of Priority Health and Total Health Care in 2019, the Total Health Care Foundation provides grants to organizations dedicated to fighting health disparities throughout Southeast Michigan.

“Having a newborn in the NICU is something no parent ever wants to go through. That is why programs like the March of Dimes’ NICU Family Support® Program are so critical for families, providers and the community,” said Shannon Wilson, Vice President of State Markets, East at Priority Health. “Priority Health and the Total Health Care Foundation are proud to support this program implementation at Children’s Hospital of Michigan to help the families of Detroit.”

NICU Family Support® services are built around three main areas: parent education, staff education and improving the patient and family experience. An evaluated parent education curriculum with seven topic choices to meet a variety of NICU parent education needs is provided, and all content is reviewed annually for medical accuracy and health literacy standards. Additionally, March of Dimes offers complementary resources for families, including the My NICU Baby® App (Mi Bebé en la NICU App) that provide answers to common NICU questions and interactive tracking tools, checklists, videos and community support in English and Spanish. A series of web articles can also help cover the basic of a NICU stay.

Hospital staff education have access to on-demand 13 topic webinar series with free CNEs and NICU Grand Round presentations on trending topics in patient experience, family centered care, quality improvement and NICU best practices. The program provides quality improvement consulting on unit specific goals to impact patient experience and family centered care, including annual Patient Experience Projects and connection to the network of NICU Family Support® partner hospitals.

Additionally, toolkits are provided to help hospitals integrate family stories and voices into their program and quality-improvement efforts. When the program is implemented at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, it will provide a minimum of two activities each month, such as bedside activity kits, COVID-safe dinners or holiday memory making opportunities that are designed to improve the family’s experience throughout their NICU journey.

“Having a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit can be very disorientating”, said Kara Hamilton-McGraw – Director of Maternal Infant Health and Government Affairs at March of Dimes. “Even more so in times of the COVID pandemic. Families in every NICU could benefit from the wrap around support this program provides families in times of crisis, but this will be especially important in Detroit where our preterm birth rates are both higher than the national and state average.”

“Children’s Hospital of Michigan, like to March of Dimes, is committed to ensure that we do everything in our power to help children and their families live happier, healthier lives,” said Kathy Donovan, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “Our NICU provides the highest level of neonatal care for the sickest and most high-risk infants. The NICU Family Support Program will be another valuable resource we have to offer to the tiny babies we care for and their families.”

“As a leader in pediatric health and wellness, The Children’s Foundation is pleased to support the NICU Family Support Coordinator position,” said Lawrence J. Burns, President & CEO of The Children’s Foundation. “It is through collaborations like this that more children and families are served, especially when they need it most.”

For more information about the Total Health Care Foundation, please email THCFoundation@thcmi.com or visit the Total Health Care Foundation website. More information on the NICU Family Support® program can be found on the program’s website.

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