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The Biggest Stories of 2020

From COVID-19 to social justice to Health Reimagined, a look back at a remarkable year

2020. Need we say more?

In many ways, it was a year to forget: The global pandemic of COVID-19, wildfires, bare-knuckled political season, marching in the streets. At the same time, these challenges brought out the best in us.

At Blue Shield of California, we’re looking back on 2020 with an eye toward not only the challenges we faced, but how we faced them. This retrospective looks at Blue Shield’s response on issues such as the pandemic, social justice, healthcare policy and some of our own biggest initiatives.

Best of all, they were selected by you, the reader. All ranked in the top 10 percent of our content published this year – selected from more than 200 posts.

'Should I Wear a Mask?' 'Will Antibodies Cure Coronavirus?' 'Is Hydroxychloroquine Effective?' Blue Shield of California's Chief Health Officer Has the Answers

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Seth Glickman, M.D., chief health officer

In 2020, our health leaders sought to educate the public and dispel myths and disinformation about the pandemic. Drs. Susan Fleischman, Terry Gilliland and Seth Glickman provided ample advice and information via social media, Facebook Live events and News Center stories. No surprise, these were some of our most read stories of the year. In this one, Dr. Glickman tackled a variety of issues including the debunked efficacy of hydroxychloroquine.

Read the full story here.

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Wendy Dougherty

Diagnosed With COVID-19, A Blue Shield Member Turned Sickness Into Health for Herself -- and Others

We’ve all been inspired by stories of recovery and those who have endured during the pandemic. In June, we told the story of Wendy Dougherty who contracted – and beat – COVID-19 and then took the extra step of donating her antibody-rich blood to help others.

Read the full story here.

Kenneth's Story: A New Lease and a New Lease on Life with the Help of an Innovative Blue Shield of California Program

COVID-19 captured headlines, but Blue Shield continued its innovative work in many areas, including its community health advocate program. In 2018, Kenneth Lee had been living out of a 1979 Ford cargo van in Galt, Calif., for about a decade. Then, he met Stuart Kosh, an advocate who helped him get permanent housing. His compelling journey was statewide news. Lee was profiled in multiple news stories.

Read the full story here.

Digital Tool Helps Blue Shield of California’s Network Hospitals Efficiently Triage Surge of COVID-19 Patients

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A digital triage tool developed by GYANT and Blue Shield cut calls time 30 percent.

Blue Shield didn’t just support its members, it brought innovation to the healthcare community in California. In March, we partnered with GYANT, a San Francisco-based company providing virtual triage and patient navigation services. Together we created a tool to help hospitals manage cases – saving staff and patients unnecessary waiting time. By September, the results were in and striking: Health systems using the tool reported up to a 30 percent decrease in calls as patients utilized the COVID-19 SERA system for care guidance or information.

Read the full story here.

Blue Shield of California Health Reimagined Initiative to Transform Health Care for Individuals, Communities Throughout California

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Health Reimagined was unveiled in June

Much of Blue Shield’s fight against COVID-19 was new: waivers for pandemic-related costs, financing for cash-strapped providers, hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to at-risk communities. But another big part of the response was applying many of the innovative programs being launched to change the way health care is delivered. This suite of services called “Health Reimagined” was unveiled formally in June.

Read the full story here.

‘Tough,’ Blue Shield of California’s New Ad Campaign, Salutes Frontline COVID-19 Workers

2020 was a big year for our advertising and marketing department. We produced a series of ads focusing on gender in the workplace, first responders and more. The ads borrowed on the theme of the previous year’s hugely successful “Blue, Not Blue” campaign. This story and ad campaign from April focused on frontline workers in the battle against COVID-19.

Read the full story here.

Another campaign, “Let’s Not Get Back to Normal” called upon Californians to continue the fight against COVID-19 and continue to focus on minority- and gender-based pay gaps. The campaign also was one of our most read stories of the year.

Read the full story here.

The Blue Shield of California Foundation's advocacy of undocumented immigrants remained a big topic for readers in 2020

Think Denying Basic Services to Immigrants and Their Families Doesn't Matter to You? Think Again.

A story that was first published in 2019 was one of our most viewed stories of 2020. The efforts of the Blue Shield of California Foundation to put an end to health inequities across California’s diverse population, including undocumented immigrants, caught the attention of our audience.

Read the full story here.

Blue Shield of California Giving Campaign Breaks All-time Records

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In August, we announced a record year for employee giving. Employees contributed more than $800,000 to nonprofits across California, it’s a number that surged in the months that followed.

Read the full story here.

Drug-Price Sticker Shock: Blue Shield of California Takes A Dramatic Step to Lower Drug Prices

Before COVID-19 grabbed our attention, Blue Shield, Civica RX and 18 members of its Blue Cross Blue Shield Association family took a big step in lowering prices on some of the most over-priced prescription drugs. “We plan to introduce competitive alternatives to the marketplace to ensure we have affordable drugs available to our members," Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield said. "This is not happening naturally now. The only way to do it is to create a strong, competitive alternative, which is what we’ve done with the Civica Rx partnership.

Read the full story here.