CSR 2022 / Access to Care / Community Impact / Operating Responsibly / Leadership View
Not everyone in our communities has the same access to important preventive health care and education, so we’ve made long-term investments to bring resources to the places where people live, work, shop and go to school.
Nine Oklahoma Caring Vans travel throughout the state to eliminate barriers to care like transportation, time and cost. The Caring Van® program is the signature program of the Oklahoma Caring Foundation, Inc., which is administered as an in-kind gift by BCBSOK.
Brooke Townsend, Oklahoma Caring Foundation executive director, presents Todd Hallmark, Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority executive officer, with an Eagle Feather Board.
In 2022 the nine vans served more than 12,000 clients, providing more than 14,000 immunizations and nearly 1,300 other health services.
With the Spero Project in Oklahoma City, the Caring Van program provided immunizations to more than 200 refugee children from Afghanistan. Delivering services directly to families helped them overcome cultural barriers as they resettled in Oklahoma.
The program also established a new partnership with Variety Care, a network of nonprofit community health centers, to provide access to immunizations and other preventive health services in Oklahoma City and surrounding counties.
The Oklahoma Caring Foundation also serves communities beyond the Oklahoma City and Tulsa regions through relationships with tribal partners. In 2022, the foundation celebrated its 10-year partnership with the Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority. Since 2012, the Choctaw Nation Caring Van has provided more than 17,000 children and nearly 12,000 adults with more than 33,000 immunizations. “Children that live in these areas often go without these services,” says Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority Executive Officer Todd Hallmark. “Making these services available allows the Choctaw Nation to help keep our rural communities in southeast Oklahoma healthier.”
BCBSOK is an ally to its strong networks of community doctors, hospitals and other providers who deliver care to its members.
We employ clinicians — including doctors, nurses, social workers and pharmacists — who help ensure members get the care they need. In 2022, these clinical teams expanded an initiative targeting six areas that have a major impact on quality of life and health outcomes: cancer screenings, immunizations, diabetes, cardiovascular care, behavioral health, and maternal and infant health.
Part of the work involves using claims data and other information to identify members in need of recommended services and screenings and facilitate a variety of interventions.
Eye exams with retinal cameras can help prevent vision loss caused by diabetes-related eye disease.
The initiative also includes steps to reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations and to enhance coordination among the doctors and others caring for our members. And to help overcome barriers to care known as social determinants of health, we’re meeting members where they are with programs deeply rooted in our communities.
BCBSOK used retinal cameras at the Oklahoma City and Tulsa state fairs and at doctor’s offices to perform eye exams on dozens of members with diabetes last year. Diabetes can damage blood vessels in the retina and cause blindness, and the screenings revealed several members had developed diabetes-related eye disease. More than 6,383 members with diabetes were notified they needed an annual eye exam.
In another initiative, BCBSOK offered free at-home colorectal cancer screening kits to targeted member populations. The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits are an effective and less invasive screening for colorectal cancer. BCBSOK sent FIT kits to 16,487 eligible members, and 2,282 performed the screenings.
“All of our efforts are really focused on members establishing meaningful relationships with our provider partners,” says Dr. Todd Hoffman, BCBSOK’s chief medical officer.
Community-based organizations play a vital role in providing care and other health-related services, so the $1.1 million in major grants BCBSOK provided last year included investments in proven, sustainable programs that advance equitable access. March of Dimes used the funding to provide implicit bias training to maternal health providers across the state.
The Center’s Youth Programming allows kids to find independence through various activities such as the Tulsa Trails Adventure.
The program is focused on reducing disparities in maternal and infant health. An investment in the Variety Care Foundation supported a community health worker to improve outcomes for marginalized pregnant women and their newborn children.
The Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC) received support for a pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) education and care program for American Indian children across the region.
The clinic is proactively identifying pediatric patients with GI issues, initiating protocols such as imaging or bloodwork and referring children with chronic symptoms to specialists.
OKCIC also works with mental health providers to initiate counseling for possible psychological root causes as well as behavioral health therapy. “We’ve done a lot here to prevent multiple GI visits for these kids,” says Stephanie Parsons, an advanced practice registered nurse at OKCIC leading the program.
The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges offers health and wellness activities for children and teens with disabilities in greater Tulsa. A grant from BCBSOK supported seasonal camps, afterschool programming, adaptive sports, stress management guidance, and a soon-to-be-installed accessible playground. “We’re able to bring opportunities to folks that they wouldn’t otherwise have in their lives,” says Wendi M. Fralick, the organization’s executive director.
BCBSOK provides a broad spectrum of coverage options for employers of all sizes, individuals and families and people eligible for Medicare. With more than 25,000 contracted providers, BCBSOK ensures that our members have access to in-network coverage throughout the state.
We maintained our longstanding commitment to offering consumer options in all 77 counties and introduced the new MyBlue HMOSM network to the Individual and Family markets in 10 counties.
And for the second year in a row, we carried out our largest-ever expansion in Medicare Advantage, focusing on providing access to care in rural and underserved areas, bringing 2023 coverage options to 30 new counties.
BCBSOK’s Mobile Assistance Team (MAC) traveled to community events across the state to help people learn about health insurance options and enroll in coverage.
BCBSOK’s Mobile Assistance Center (MAC) team traveled the state to help Oklahomans enroll in coverage in person or by phone. To better support Oklahoma Latinos and their communities, BCBSOK’s Latino community outreach team and MAC team held Latino-focused outreach events. People met in person and by phone with a bilingual community outreach specialist to get information and ask questions in Spanish. And for the second year, the MAC team set up a booth at the Oklahoma and Tulsa state fairs to provide enrollment assistance and customer service.
Last Updated: March 10, 2023