BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York has hit a major milestone— connecting with 50,000 members—since it launched a unique outreach campaign to connect at-risk members with support and resources amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The health plan will continue to expand its targeted efforts for the next several months to help even more members manage the impacts of the pandemic.
At the pandemic’s onset, the local, not-for-profit, community-based health plan quickly pivoted and shifted its team of clinical professionals, including nurses and social workers, to engage with at-risk members. The clinical teams drew on resources to enhance members’ overall well-being at a time of heightened uncertainty. Members receive direct calls offering telehealth support, assistance with online prescriptions, grocery delivery set-up, access to mental health resources and other tools to improve their health while following stay-at-home guidance.
“BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York places great emphasis on connecting our members with doctors, medications and information they need about their benefits. As soon as the pandemic started impacting people’s day-to-day lives, we knew that we had the resources to help our members with the highest needs,” said Jennifer Johengen-Vogel, MS, RN, Vice President, Health Management, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “Being able to access food, transportation and even socialization are extremely important components of a person’s well-being, especially now, and our employees continue to step up to ensure our members have the support they need.”
The team of clinical professionals at BlueCross BlueShield continues to go above and beyond their typical responsibilities offer members a blend of support services, often in non-traditional ways. Check-ins often result in a friendly conversation, offering social interaction to those dealing with isolation and loneliness. Nurses have been helping members obtain grocery and medication deliveries. In one specific case, a member needing to take part in a medical sleep study was paired with resources to allow them to take the test at home, an unlikely outcome without this proactive approach.
“Our main goal is to alleviate stress and anxiety during our outreach, and establish a safe place for our members to share their needs so we can best help them,” said Joyce Warning, RN, CCM, Corporate Director, Health Management, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “We want our members to know that we are here for them, and we’ll continue to be here to help them manage their overall health and wellness— throughout the pandemic, and well after we’ve made it through.”
The health plan will also cover the cost of medically necessary COVID-19 testing and treatment for its fully insured Commercial and Medicare Advantage members through March 31, 2021. The health plan’s additional efforts to support its members and community during the COVID-19 pandemic include:
- Contributing $1 million to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund through its Blue Fund grant-giving program as it converted its typical donation cycle to directly support the most-needed areas of the community affected by COVID-19;
- Contributing $575,000 to help 75 nonprofits recovering and rebuilding from the pandemic;
- Investing $1 million in health-focused community programming to benefit eight counties of Western New York;
- Providing $2.1 million in relief for nearly 150 local primary-care provider (PCP) groups through its COVID-19 Provider Relief Program;
- Partnering with the Buffalo Sabres to donate more than 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to local schools;
- Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to 25,000 small businesses;
- Partnering with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Project Play WNY and The Teachers Desk to provide more than 12,000 PlayPacks to 43 Buffalo Public Schools;
- Donating thousands of healthy snacks and meals for local police officers and firefighters;
- Providing holiday meals to ECMC workers through Osteria 166.
For more information on BlueCross BlueShield’s COVID-19 response, visit www.bcbswny.com/coronavirus.