- Neda Long is Director of Strategy and Innovation at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
When evaluating our own health and healthcare, or that of a loved one, many of us have probably asked:
- If I need urgent care, where will I go?
- Will they accept my health insurance?
- Will the care provided be affordable?
- Am I focused on my daily health?
Even as the pandemic wanes, these questions persist. At BlueCross, we’ve learned that many of our members are best served and treated at a “one stop shop” located in their communities with hours of operation that fit their schedules.
In 2020, we recognized that many areas of our state lacked convenient access to primary care. People needed options like extended evening and weekend hours, same-day appointments, and walk-in care.
We partnered with Sanitas, a leading multinational healthcare organization, to open medical centers across the state – a new home for healthcare needs catering to those whose schedules did not allow for s absent during normal working hours. Sanitas offers preventive care, chronic disease management, vaccinations, pediatric services, women’s health services, laboratory work and diagnostic imaging services, to name a few.
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Centers benefit members with chronic and urgent needs
Some of our members may not have associated Sanitas Medical Centers with BlueCross yet. Now, these eight medical centers in central and western Tennessee have been renamed Blue of Tennessee along with Sanitas Medical Center.
Members know that upon entering, they will receive a quality customer service experience from BlueCross and affordable care options from knowledgeable and compassionate Sanitas clinicians.
Over the past two years, these experiences have resonated. From January to October of this year alone, Sanitas managed more than 55,000 patient visits to Blue of Tennessee centers, having a direct and positive impact on the health of the communities we serve.
These centers have benefited members who struggle with chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes, allergies, illnesses like respiratory infections, and access to screenings, wellness checks, and vaccinations.
We listened to feedback from members visiting the centers and learned that many people have questions about their insurance coverage when receiving necessary care.
Insurance advisors reassure patients
Health care — and by extension, health insurance — can be complicated. But it doesn’t have to. Our Blue of Tennessee locations have brought us closer to our members than ever before and bridged that gap by spending more time with them in person. After receiving overwhelmingly positive reception for the pilot, all Blue of Tennessee locations now have the added resource of an on-site BlueCross Insurance Advisor – advisors like Makailah Hunt, who says she loves being able to strike up a conversation with someone who may not know their options or what their plan covers.
Having a Blue of Tennessee insurance advisor on site puts visitors at ease. This level of comfort only increases when the visitor sees our advisors taking the time to answer all questions and review all available options – without keeping an eye on the clock or anyone else.
It also helps the member know what they will have to pay, removing an unknown from the equation and helping them focus on the need for care at hand. Members typically ask our advisors for a list of participating providers, a copy of their BlueCross ID, or general questions about their coverage.
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These advisers shared that they felt their presence had the most impact when they provided definitive answers. The relief on our members’ faces is immediate and visible, a perfect example of fulfilling our mission as a nonprofit health plan of peace of mind through better health.
We want communities to see Blue of Tennessee with Sanitas and know we’re here to help, all in one place, all at the same time. We want our members to know that we respect their time and that it has the greatest possible value.
Neda Long is Director of Strategy and Innovation at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
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