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In the News: Kristen Cerf Talks With Business Leaders About COVID-19 Realities

The CEO of Blue Shield Promise joins a healthcare roundtable to discuss the pandemic's impact on plans, members and more

Kristen Cerf, chief executive of Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan talked about the plan's approach to dealing with the pandemic in a panel discussion that included executives from Blue Cross Anthem, Cigna and Children's

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Hospital of Los Angeles. Cerf, who was named CEO of Promise in February, said members are facing pandemic-related challenges on multiple fronts.

Blue Shield has always understood the importance of mental health to overall care. Since last year, we have been working with schools and community-based organizations that focus on mental health. Last December, the company also launched BlueSky, a multi-year effort to enhance awareness, advocacy, and access to mental health support for middle and high school students in California. A major part of the initiative was bringing therapists into schools to provide direct mental health support to students in need. Now, this service is available through video therapy sessions through our collaboration with Wellness Together. In addition, we enhanced the program to offer online access to mental health and COVID-19 resources for parents/guardians and their children. We will continue this effort and others as we start to transition into the new realities for our members.

Cerf on how Blue Shield Promise is preparing for a return to work:

Blue Shield of California created a task force to gain input from our 7,000 employees at 22 locations, to consider systematically what needs to be done to ensure everyone’s safety when we return to our offices. We’re offering an enhanced paid-leave program, work-from-home tools and reimbursement for teleworking costs. In addition, we knew our staff wanted to do their part in helping the communities that are even more in need. We launched the Shield Cares Giving Campaign to run April-June to boost employee giving to any California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a 2:1 company match which raised over $850,000 for more than 800 nonprofit organizations across the state. Lastly, we launched Silver Linings, an internal photo-sharing campaign in which employees can connect about how they are living our company values – human, honest and courageous – during this time. 

To read the entire discussion, click here.