Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is a major supporter of the United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) and Rhode Island Foundation (RIF) COVID-19 Response Fund. More than $7 million has been given from that fund to 181 different community organizations. Other areas of focus for the Plan include: behavioral health, supply donations to front-line workers, first responders and homeless residents, Meals on Wheels and blood drives. Finally, BCBSRI has provided a number of ways for their employees to engage and assist with community relief efforts.

OVERVIEW OF RESPONSE EFFORTS

Other examples of BCBSRI’s community support include:

Behavioral Health 

  • A COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund has been established at the Rhode Island Foundation to fund nonprofit organizations working to address Rhode Islanders' behavioral health needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. The funding provides valuable and timely resources to support, expand and enhance the capacity of nonprofit organizations to deliver behavioral health services in response to the pandemic, ensuring continued access to services for Rhode Islanders. The COVID-19 related funds include $2 million from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner Behavioral Health Fund created at the Rhode Island Foundation in 2018. 

Supply Donations 

  • BCBSRI donated 100 canisters of hand sanitizing wipes to Crossroads Rhode Island and another 100 canisters to Family Service of Rhode Island.
  • 700 1 oz. bottles of hand sanitizer were donated to City of Providence emergency responders.
  • 2500 1oz. bottles of hand sanitizer were donated to the State of Rhode Island as part of their call for medical supplies in response to COVID-19 on April 3, 2020.
  • Beginning on March 25, BCBSRI began offering supply delivery support (via BCBSRI’s Your Blue Van and a BCBSRI employee driver), to the Rhode Island Coalition of the Homeless, delivering necessary supplies to Rhode Island’s homeless shelters and service providers in an effort to keep people safe and reduce community spread. In almost daily pick-ups and deliveries, we’ve helped to transport necessary supplies such as gloves, thermometers, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc. to dozens of locations across the state.

Meals on Wheels 

  • Year-round, Meals on Wheels provides home-bound older adults in Rhode Island with delivery of life-saving daily meals, critical safety checks and relief from social isolation. Due to COVID-19, Meals on Wheels needed more volunteers. BCBSRI created a customized form to recruit volunteers and now has several deployed in the community delivering to home-bound older adults.

Blood Drives

  • BCBSRI had to cancel the company's blood drive scheduled for March 30 at its headquarters as a result of the pandemic. Instead, BCBSRI encouraged employees to consider giving blood at Rhode Island Blood Center locations. Center staff are trained in universal precautions to help prevent the risk of spreading infectious agents. 

Employee Activities

  • BCBSRI colleagues have been recruited to support Rhode Island’s healthcare and direct service professionals in need of face masks (as a supplement to the short supply of medical grade personal protective equipment). A customized recruitment survey was developed to capture interest, and in response our employees receive patterns, tutorials, information on how to procure cloth and other supplies and disinfecting and cleaning precautions. More than 500 mask have been produced by BCBSRI employees. 
  • United Way of Rhode Island is matching interested BCBSRI volunteers with opportunities during the COVID-19 public health crisis.  
  • Nutritious food is a cornerstone of our health. In light of COVID-19, now more than ever, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank is relying on organizations like BCBSRI to ensure that their network of food pantries can continue to serve Rhode Island’s most vulnerable residents. BCBSRI worked with the Food Bank to create a customized online giving portal to secure financial donations from BCBSRI employees in a position to give. With bulk purchasing power, the Food Bank can continue to maximize every dollar donated, and reach people whose resources are stretched due to the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • April 1 was 401Gives day, Rhode Island’s inaugural day of statewide giving for Rhode Island’s non-profits – the largest day of giving in our state’s history. And the results: more than 7000 generous donors (including some of our colleagues) raised more than $1.2 million for 365 non-profits. BCBSRI served as one of two leadership sponsors of this special day.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is a licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independently, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.