Philadelphia —Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is staying closely connected to Medicare members – its most at-risk population – through a new initiative called “Calls of Kindness.” The initiative involves Independence employee volunteers making proactive check-in calls to Medicare members. The purpose of the calls is to give comfort and support to those who need it during this unprecedented time. So far volunteers have made “Calls of Kindness” to more than 2,000 Medicare members.
“There is so much fear and anxiety about this virus. It is extremely overwhelming for people, but especially for the senior population,” said Independence Medical Director Heidi Syropoulos, M.D., a geriatrician. “We thought that making proactive outreach calls like these would help reassure our most at-risk members that they are not alone and that we are here to help them with anything from getting groceries to accessing telemedicine or just talking if that’s what they need.”
The “Calls of Kindness” are casual and friendly check-ins. The employee volunteers start by introducing themselves and explaining the reason for the call. Next they try to get to know the member and ask about their support system. For example, does the member have the ability to get their own groceries and/or prescriptions? If not, does he or she have someone that can do those things for them? If they don’t, the Independence employee volunteer can connect them with a case manager at Independence that can help them.
“I spent 10 minutes on the phone with a member. She was blown away that Independence is doing this and asked why I volunteered,” said Independence senior government markets program support specialist Veronica McNeish. “She told me that she goes out when she needs to for herself and for her neighbors who are a little older and have medical conditions. I learned about her life and why she is lonely. We laughed a lot and she told me that I made her feel good and that she will have a great rest of her day because of my call. This program is really uplifting people’s spirits.”
For the calls, Independence used data they have on file to identify Medicare members who may live alone and have low-risk chronic conditions.
Independence is currently recruiting more employee volunteers to help with the calls. In addition to the “Calls of Kindness,” Independence has registered nurse health coaches and employees on the Member Help Team reaching out to Commercial and Medicare members with chronic conditions and who are high-risk. All together, the teams have made more than 26,441 calls.
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve nearly 7 million people nationwide. For more than 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve. We deliver innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneer new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and support programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at facebook.com/ibx and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.