At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, our priority remains what matters most: standing with our members and communities — especially during the unprecedented global pandemic.
Six community partners received grant money from BCBSOK’s $1 million COVID-19 grant fund, established to bolster Oklahomans’ access to care and support the state’s health care professionals and nonprofits during the pandemic. The Community Service Council of Tulsa, Heartline OKC, the Tulsa Area United Way, the United Way of Central Oklahoma, MyHealth Access Network and the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board all received grants.
BCBSOK employees also went directly into communities across the state to continue their support during the pandemic.
BCBSOK collaborated with community partners — the YMCA, the Latino Community Development Agency and the Tulsa Dream Center — to set up 10 drive-through mask distribution sites. Additional supplies of masks were distributed through Oklahoma Primary Care Association partners and Tribal health systems and Tribal nation partners.
— Joseph R. Cunningham, M.D., president, BCBSOK
A partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health sent the Caring Vans across the state to provide transportation and supply storage for mobile COVID-19 testing sites. The collaboration allowed BCBSOK to work with the state and ensure underserved populations had access to COVID-19 testing.
The BCBSOK Mobile Assistance Center (MAC) team got to work during ACA open enrollment to offer in-person, phone or virtual assistance for Oklahomans seeking coverage on the exchange during the pandemic.
To make accessing care easier while social distancing, cost-sharing was lifted for members receiving medical and behavioral health services via telemedicine.
“Got You Covered” events
tested for COVID-19 through
Caring Van partnership
$1 million in grants
distributed to nonprofits
Every year, BCBSOK supports communities throughout the state with grants and sponsorships. While COVID-19 altered many plans, BCBSOK remained committed to annual giving and employees continued to donate their time and money to causes they care about.
In 2020, BCBSOK awarded more than $500,000 in local grants to 15 nonprofit organizations as part of the larger Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative. The organizations all work with children and their families on nutrition, physical activity, preventing and managing disease, and supporting safe environments.
For instance, Healthy Schools Oklahoma earned a HKHF grant to support incorporating kinesthetic learning pieces in classrooms across the state. Reach Out and Read Oklahoma is using its HKHF grant to support medical providers at American Indian Health Care sites in Oklahoma in providing free books to families and promote early childhood literacy.
Employees also continued to volunteer and care for fellow Oklahomans.
Evelyn Cardona, the 2020 BCBSOK Volunteer of the Year, dedicated more than 75 hours to nonprofit organizations around Oklahoma City, including EmpowerOKC and the Oklahoma City Police Department’s Citizen Advisory Board.
9 Caring Vans
Feeding America partnership
Our initiatives to improve care access and affordability contribute directly to our mission to do everything in our power to stand with our members and communities in sickness and in health.
Many Oklahomans who live in small or rural towns know it can be difficult to find a local care provider. It is challenging for physicians to start a medical practice in those small towns without financial help. To combat this, BCBSOK worked with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Physician Manpower Training Commission (PMTC) to incentivize physicians to set up shop in rural Oklahoma.
BCBSOK donated $500,000 to the PMTC Physician Loan Repayment Program, which pays off loans of physicians who agree to practice in underserved areas of Oklahoma.
— Dr. Jason Hill, chief medical officer, Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority
Dr. Tammy M. Tandberg-Willcox was the 2020 recipient of the PMTC grant and now practices family medicine in Hugo, Oklahoma. She points to the loan repayment grant as the reason she can practice in Choctaw County.
“Receiving the PMTC grant enabled me to stay in the area and practice family medicine, while at the same time easing the burden of my student loan," Dr. Tanberg-Willcox said.
"I am very grateful for the opportunity to work and make a difference in my new community.”
The pandemic limited care options for substance abuse treatment, and self-isolation and job losses compounded problems for many seeking help. A $250,000 grant given to Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Addiction Medicine Specialty Clinic in January was put to use to expand substance abuse and outreach in Oklahoma.
The OSU clinic opened satellite locations throughout Oklahoma to reach more people who need help. Leaders are also planning a long-term study to see if patients are willing to use virtual tools and remain engaged in the treatment. The study’s results may help develop better ways to reach people statewide.
“That’s really what’s at the heart of this grant," said Dr. Kelly Dunn, a physician at OSU Addiction Medicine Specialty Clinic. "This definitely feels like the right place and the right time when everything comes together to really make an impact on Oklahoma.”
BCBSOK has the largest and most robust network in the state, providing access to care in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. Maintaining access to care across rural and urban areas makes a difference in our member’s lives, ensuring they have the right care when they need it most.
BCBSOK is committed to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and we know the positive impact a diverse workforce can have on our customers, our communities and our company.
Our approach to diversity and inclusion engages leaders to ensure there is alignment at an executive level. The Executive D&I Council, made up of nine senior leaders from across the business, meets quarterly to promote a shared commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Recruiting Diverse Talent
BCBSOK prioritizes building a talent pipeline for the future and aims to recruit top diverse candidates.
Our hiring efforts are reflected in our employee demographics
- 30% of employees are people of color
- 15% are African American
- 3% are Asian American
- 4% are Latinos
- 8% are Native American
- 81% of employees are women
Our employee-led business resource groups (BRGs) are there to support, empower and connect employees to the business, community, and one another.
Oklahoma has 38 federally recognized tribes, and nearly 29% of Native Americans nationwide are uninsured. Lucinda Myers is an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma and a tribal relations specialist with BCBSOK who has dedicated her life to helping underserved indigenous people. She chairs BCBSOK’s Native Americans in Progress (NAIP) BRG, through which she and other BRG members can share cultural knowledge with the business.
Members of another BRG at BCBSOK, African Americans in Motion (AAIM), were some of the more than 80 employees who marched in parades in Tulsa and Oklahoma City in January honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
NAIP and AAIM are two of six active BRGs in Oklahoma:
- African Americans in Motion
- Engaging Multigenerational Energy to Recognize Growth Enterprisewide
- Latinos for Advancement
- Pride Alliance
- Women Improving the Strength of the Enterprise
BCBSOK prioritizes operating in an ethical and sustainable manner for the good of our employees, members and clients.
Our headquarters building is Fitwel certified, meaning it supports a healthier workplace environment to improve occupant health and productivity. Additionally, 100% of our energy in 2020 came from renewable sources.
We are also committed to the highest standards of business ethics and integrity, and all employees and vendors must agree to follow codes of ethics and conduct.
These efforts contributed to Ethisphere naming the company that operates BCBSOK a World’s Most Ethical Company for the fifth straight year in 2020.
of water saved through
of our electricity comes from renewable energy