Improving mental health by increasing access to care

Published April 11, 2022

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is working to improve mental health through a statewide awareness campaign as well as improving access to care.

Health care professionals agree the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on mental health and overall well-being which is fueling efforts nationwide to improve access to care and build awareness about its impact on overall health. The pandemic shutdowns of 2020, led to a twentyfold  increase in monthly telehealth appointments among Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) members. That’s just one of the reasons Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) launched a pair of new initiatives that build mental health awareness and improve access to care for the entire state’s population. BCBSKS saw a spike in insurance claims for telehealth appointments since dating back to the early shutdown of businesses and schools following the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020.

Matching patients with the right provider - MiResource

BCBSKS has partnered with MiResource, an online mental health provider referral service. MiResource is available to all Kansas residents providing a list of health professionals based on location and filtering which ones are accepting new clients. MiResource is similar to a search engine - matching patient with provider based on a host of factors ranging from location to preferences of in-person or remote appointments. Patients answer a series of questions to help MiResource better understand the assortment of personal preferences that will create a positive environment and ultimately a better care experience. The service will guide users step-by-step, preparing patients for their first visit and answering questions along the way.

“Deciding that you’re ready to seek help is a big first step, but unfortunately the process can be difficult,” Matt All, BCBSKS president/CEO, said. “The trial-and-error approach to finding the right provider can be costly and waste precious time. This tool can help people find the care they need quickly and with less confusion.”

In addition to improving access to care, the MiResource partnership also addresses health disparities by acknowledging racial, cultural and language barriers.

Building Mental Health Awareness - A New State Of Mind

Alongside the MiResource partnership, BCBSKS is also working to improve the conversations around mental health statewide with an awareness campaign. It’s called A New State of Mind. Launched in the summer of 2021, aims to open the conversation around mental health for all Kansans. In the first months, thousands of people accessed the site and utilized its resource guides, assessment quizzes, toolkits, and a wellness media library to help themselves or loved ones find a starting point for seeking the help they need.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.