A few years ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST)’s Supervisor of Maternity Case Management Amy Griffin RN, BSN, CCM, CLC completed the Lactation Counselor Training Course (LCTC) in an effort to bring more lactation support capability to her team. Having been a nurse for 25 years, she says she found herself blown away by the comprehensiveness of the course.
“It was just so impactful to me,” Griffin begins. “It totally changed the way that I taught our members.”
Griffin goes on to say that she felt very strongly about getting as many of their nurses certified as possible, to better serve their members.
Set to host in March 2020, the LCTC was cancelled due to COVID-19.
“Truthfully I was devastated at the missed opportunity for our staff,” Griffin shares.
Not long after though, Healthy Children Project launched the online LCTC for the first time ever.
Griffin calls it their “wonderful silver lining” as they were able to enroll the majority of their team.
With three nurse case managers previously certified, seven additional maternity nurse case managers have enrolled in the LCTC or completed the course to date. Seven NICU nurse case managers have enrolled as well.
Of those nurses is BCBST Nurse Case Manager Rebecca Provine, RN who says that she has been able to implement her education immediately into practice. Most notably, Provine shares that the course has allowed her to weed out “old wives’ tales” for her members and practice purely on an evidence-based agenda.
In January 2020, BCBST launched their maternity care digital platform where members have access to perinatal support including breastfeeding care.
“It’s been amazing being able to connect better to our members,” Provine shares.
Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it keeps care providers and their members connected through an otherwise isolating experience.
Provine points out that sometimes the support she offers feels small and intimate, but that it has lasting impacts.
“Ultimately, we want people to live their best lives,” she says. “This is a great way to start.”
Provine also notes that the LCTC offers a great launching pad for working toward national and global efforts like the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) and obtaining goals like those detailed in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
BCBS Tennessee made a specific commitment to expecting families in 2016 when they launched their Healthy Maternity program and continue to enhance their commitment to their members.
Griffin highlights BCBST’s mission statement: “Peace of mind through better health.”
“I feel like we live up to that,” she says.
While she notes the benefit of the online LCTC platform, Griffin says it’s still a big goal of hers to host the in-person course in the future.