Monday, March 1, marks the start of California’s transition to an enhanced provider vaccination Network that’s designed to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all Californians equitably, safely and as quickly as possible. Blue Shield of California is acting as the state of California’s Third Party Administrator (TPA) to manage the enhanced Network, which will make the transition from the state’s existing provider network in three phases through the end of March.
The main goals of the enhanced Network are to increase the state’s capacity for the delivery of vaccines, from approximately 1 million doses per week in January to 4 million doses per week by the end of March, to ensure they are equitably administered, and fully vaccinating 25 million people by this summer.
The enhanced Network will build on the state’s existing capacity and vaccination processes that are working well, while enhancing state oversight of the vaccine supply and accountability for all vaccine doses. Using data-driven targeting of hotspots, based on state-developed criteria, this new model will result in the state providing greater allocations of vaccines to communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 infection and death.
“Our goal is to overcome this pandemic and save lives, and by working together with healthcare providers, local health jurisdictions, state public health officials and others, we can accomplish that daunting task,” said Paul Markovich, president & CEO of Blue Shield of California. “As the federal government prepares to ramp up the availability of vaccines, we are aiming to build a provider network here in California that is only constrained by the number of vaccines we receive.”
The transition will occur throughout the month of March and will include the TPA assuming responsibility for implementing state-approved vaccine allocations from local health jurisdictions. Providers and local health jurisdictions may choose to continue in their roles as vaccine providers by contracting with the TPA for performance management, and by using the state’s My Turn portal for scheduling vaccination appointments and reporting data to the TPA and the state to provide daily visibility about the Network’s operation.
Beginning March 4, the TPA will begin implementing the state’s allocations of vaccine doses, according to equity and priority directives from the state.
Providers will receive a three-week allocation plan so they can plan appointments effectively. The supply each provider receives may be adjusted during each three-week period, based on how the provider meets the goals of the program.
The state’s My Turn online system will serve as the central site for all Californians to sign up to get vaccinations through the state’s vaccination providers. For those with smartphones or computers, online signup will be the most efficient; once a person becomes eligible to get a vaccine, the system will send them a notification by text or email instructing them to make an appointment. For those who don’t have online access, they can call 1-833-422-4255 (Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to sign up for MyTurn. Those individuals will receive a notification once they are eligible and they can call the same number (1-833-422-4255) to make an appointment.
Read the California Department of Public Health press release, "California on Track to Reach Capacity Goal of 3 Million Vaccines Per Week, Pending Available Supply."