If you don’t know much about the world of Medicaid managed care – and why would you? – take it from us.

It’s a world of pouring (mostly federal) dollars at mostly unsolvable problems.

But at least Passport Health Plan is innovating.

Louisville-based Passport now offers Text4baby – a free texting service to provide health information to pregnant women and new mothers from pregnancy through a baby’s first year, according to a news release.

And as we all know, the common denominator in society is a cell phone.

Passport is promting Text4baby on its website and within the Plan’s prenatal Mommy Steps program for pregnant members.

From the news release:

Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish) receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health, safe sleep, and more. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

Passport also is sponsoring the March of Dimes Walk for Babies on May 11.

“These two initiatives will help reduce Kentucky’s high percentage of pre-term births which is currently at 13.4 percent,” stated Mark Carter, Passport CEO, in the release. ” The March of Dimes provides vital research to prevent these pre-term births, and Text4baby will give these members the health information they need through the convenience of personal text messages.”

According to the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday. The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest in the industrialized world, and for the first time since the 1950s, that rate is on the rise. Research shows more than 85 percent of Americans own a cell phone and 72 percent of cell users send or receive text messages.

About Passport Health Plan: Passport Health Plan is a provider-sponsored, non-profit, community-based, Medicaid health care plan that has operated since 1997. The Plan was established by providers upon the invitation from Kentucky’s Department for Medicaid Services to area providers to take responsibility for the medical care of Medicaid patients for its 16 county region. The Plan has been consistently rated as “excellent” by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

The counties of service include Breckinridge, Bullitt, Carroll, Grayson, Hardin, Henry, Jefferson, Larue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Washington. Passport Health Plan is sponsored by the University of Louisville Medical School Practice Association, University Medical Center, Inc., Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, Norton Healthcare, and the Louisville Primary Care Association, which includes the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Welfare and Louisville’s two federally qualified health centers, Family Health Centers and Park DuValle.