As the public health crisis surrounding the coronavirus outbreak continues, doctors, nurses and others on the frontlines are putting their health at risk every day, while facing shortfalls of critical safety supplies. From local family physicians to community clinics and large hospitals, the postponement of care that is not urgent has strained revenues and stressed key institutions.
As the need for resources intensifies, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country are working to make sure communities and health practitioners are protected during this pandemic — and remain strong beyond it.
Offering financial solutions
To support health professionals dealing with the economic pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Shield of California is working with financial service partners to provide up to $200 million in direct support through financing guarantees, advance payments and restructuring of contracts.
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is advancing more than $30 million in reimbursements to over 1,700 primary care practices and associated entities in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) is accelerating payments of more than $170 million to support the healthcare delivery system. The payments include monthly cash advances for pediatricians and rural primary care physicians, independent practices in certain specialty areas, and dentists, as well as cash advances to select hospitals.
Blue Cross of Idaho is supporting independent practitioners with advance payments, with relief aimed at primary care and behavioral health practitioners, as well as others in non-surgical specialties.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is accelerating incentive payments to certain practices so they have the financial resources available immediately to purchase equipment and treat patients with COVID-19. The funding is available to over 40 physician organizations, including more than 20,000 primary care doctors and specialists.
To alleviate revenue and short-term cash flow problems, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina is enhancing the claims process to ensure 90 percent of claims are paid within 14 days, a majority within seven days.
Premera Blue Cross is making up to $100 million available in advance payments for thousands of primary care physicians, specialists, behavioral health professionals and dentists in Washington state and Alaska.
Keeping caregivers protected
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota teamed up with Allina Health and several community partners in a state-wide volunteer effort to sew and donate CDC-compliant fabric masks for doctors, nurses and other medical staff. With shortages of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) across the country, the handmade masks allow healthcare workers to preserve necessary PPE for caregivers on the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is spending $2.35 million to donate 500,000 N95 respirator masks and 81,000 face shields to the state’s coordinated COVID-19 response effort
Answering the call to serve on the front lines
As hospitals across the country reach capacity, there is high demand for more medical professionals to help. To help reduce this burden Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is offering full salary and benefits to employees with medical backgrounds who volunteer to work in the coronavirus field hospital being constructed at the TCF Center in Detroit. Within 24 hours of the initial request, 29 employees volunteered.
BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina is offering two weeks paid time off to medical staff wishing to volunteer to help with COVID-19. More than 20 medically qualified Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona employees have volunteered to care for and treat coronavirus patients and licensed nurses and behavioral health professionals on staff at CareFirst are also encouraged to volunteer their time, expertise and resources.