PITTSBURGH — Highmark Inc. is helping schools navigate the new, uncharted school year by donating Back-to-School Toolkits containing personal protective equipment and resources to school districts across Pennsylvania and Delaware.
“With the 2020-21 academic year presenting unprecedented challenges, we are stepping up our efforts to help schools create a positive and safe learning environment — whether virtually, in-person or a mix of both,” shared Deb Rice-Johnson, president of Highmark Inc. “Schools play a vital role in our communities as they prepare today’s students to become the leaders of tomorrow. At Highmark, we want to show our unwavering support and gratitude for all that they do, especially under the current, ever-changing circumstances.”
School districts with Highmark coverage will receive adjustable face coverings to fit a wide age range of students, face shields for teachers and staff members, disinfectant hand wipes, large one-gallon pumps of hand sanitizer, signage containing best practices, and resource guides to assist with the transition to the new school year, courtesy of Highmark. Signage and resource guides are also available for download on the Highmark Employer Back-to-School Toolkit website. School districts will be given the option to schedule when and where they will receive the supplies to align with their current and future reopening plans.
In addition to supplies and resources, Highmark hosted a Back-to-School webinar in collaboration with clinical leaders from Allegheny Health Network (AHN) on August 5 for school districts to provide current information on COVID-19 to school decision-makers.
Highmark has also partnered with AHN to offer a physician consultant service for an even greater level of support as they navigate this new school year. The add-on service provides Highmark customers with a dedicated clinician advisor and a team of experts to offer personalized guidance to the school to help shape their policies and practices.
Highmark plans to expand its back-to-school initiatives to K-12 districts who are prospective customers in Pennsylvania and Delaware, as well as provide resources to school districts in West Virginia, in future phases of the initiative.
The back-to-school initiatives are part of Highmark’s larger efforts to help the communities that it serves during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, a COVID-19 hotline was launched to assist western Pennsylvanians locate COVID-19 testing sites near their location. In early June, Highmark mobilized local small and diverse businesses to design, manufacture and donate over 1.3 million cloth face coverings to Highmark members across its footprint. Highmark also donated over 40,000 cloth face coverings to EMS professionals across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware during National EMS Week in May.
Additionally, Highmark has taken many proactive measures through coverage expansions, increased options to access to care, support for its communities, providers and customers, and by providing resources to access help and information to ensure that our members, employees and communities are safe and can continue to receive care. Highmark expanded benefits to cover telehealth and inpatient, in-network COVID-19 treatment with no cost-sharing until September 30.
To support those affected by the pandemic, Highmark dedicated a web site (highmarkanswers.com) to answer questions and provide insight to the community and launched a stream of podcasts to assist in understanding issues surrounding COVID-19. Through its provider partners such as AHN in western Pennsylvania and health systems in other communities, Highmark has actively supported COVID-19 testing, with a focus on underserved communities through mobile units. Highmark also committed $2 million in grants to food insecurity, safety net providers and COVID-19 relief organizations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware.
About Highmark Inc.
One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of more than 5.6 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.