In the News: American Journal of Accountable Care Features Blue Shield of California's Innovative Approach to COVID-19 in 2020

In a Sept. 16 article for the American Journal of Accountable Care, Blue Shield of California's Shannon Cosgrove, MHA , Edward Juhn, MD, MBA, MPH, explain how the plan is breaking industry stereotypes when it comes to the pandemic. 

Traditionally, health plans have been viewed as necessary but not particularly benevolent actors, and they can be perceived as a siloed segment within the health care ecosystem. As our health care system is plighted by unsustainable cost, member and provider dissatisfaction, and data challenges, Blue Shield of California is working to pave a way forward toward improvement. For example, we are collaborating with companies in new ways to lower drug costs, working to offer virtual assistance services to allow providers to work at the top of their license, and enabling a secure statewide data exchange of health information benefiting both members and providers.2,3 These cross-sector partnerships are just a few examples of how our health plan is working in novel ways to build a sustainable health care future. As the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to innovate, new collaborations such as these are timely and needed to improve care during and after a COVID-19 world.

They add:

People are not affected equally by COVID-19, nor should our response be equal. In order to eliminate inequities, reduce pandemic prevalence, deploy adequate prevention techniques, and address underlying conditions that perpetuate COVID-19 and many other health issues, all stakeholders must understand their populations. For example, Black and Latinx communities are disproportionately affected by the health and social impacts of COVID-19.6 There are also issues in accessing not only health care but also health information, technologies, and resources. Language preference, immigration status, and distrust of systems are other factors that need to be taken into account when looking to mobilize an appropriate response.7 Currently, we are working to gather meaningful data to enhance our approach in reducing these health inequities, and this effort that started prior to COVID-19 must continue for years to come. The impacts of the lack of data sharing are becoming all too obvious in this health crisis, and we are committed to working with our partners to drive the system forward.

Read the full article here.