EAGAN, Minn., May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) has become the first health insurer to join the state's latest public health initiative to slow the spread of COVID-19. More than 140 Blue Cross associates from across Blue Cross will volunteer as contact tracers for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), starting this week.
This agreement is the result of Blue Cross proactively reaching out to MDH and offering support for the state's goal of deploying close to 500 volunteer contact tracers by the end of the month.
"Our hope in this crisis is to offer stability and support for our communities and our state however we can," said Dr. Craig Samitt, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "I'm proud of how quickly our people have rallied to help staff this key public health effort that will help our communities fight against and recover from COVID-19."
Contact tracing plays a key role in effective COVID-19 control programs throughout the United States and in other countries. In Minnesota, Blue Cross volunteer investigators will interview individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in order to determine who among their social contacts may also have been exposed to the virus. The investigator will then reach out to those identified contacts and relay the state's suggested policies and procedures for self-quarantine and testing.
"We're extremely grateful to Blue Cross for stepping up with a team of volunteers willing to undergo the training in order to take on this important work to protect the health of Minnesotans," said Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Health Commissioner.
All Blue Cross volunteers will receive training from MDH on proper protocols for conducting interviews that adhere to all laws and regulations pertaining to private and confidential health information. Volunteers will be asked to complete a minimum two-week commitment, consisting of six-hour shifts, three to four days per week. The goal will be for volunteers to complete approximately five case calls per shift.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® of Minnesota and Blue Plus® are nonprofit independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.