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Blue Plus Expands Commitment to Community Health Workers

EAGAN, Minn., May 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --A Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Blue Plus (Blue Plus) today announced an expanded commitment to the community health worker (CHW) model through partnerships with WellShare International and the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance (MCHWA). The partnerships aim to strengthen and extend CHW infrastructure in Minnesota communities, reduce health disparities and bridge cultural and language barriers in efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Blue Plus Expands Commitment to Community Health Workers
"This is an incredibly stressful time which may exacerbate already existing health disparities. These disparities can be amplified by cultural and language barriers," said Dr. Mark Steffen, vice president and chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "Being able to provide phone-based assistance and ensuring people are connected to available resources can help support those individuals and communities that need it the most.""Working with WellShare International and the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance helps us increase engagement with our members which is incredibly important during this pandemic," said Christine Reiten, vice president of Medicaid. "Community health workers are tremendous assets to the populations we serve since they often live in or grew up in the same community and are able to effectively assist with cultural competency that helps bridge gaps in care."The partnership with WellShare is primarily designed to deliver education and answer questions about COVID-19. WellShare community workers will conduct telephone outreach to Blue Plus members who are not fluent English speakers and will also provide connection to other resources as needed, including information about food and rental assistance, unemployment, sanitation supplies and access to health care services. The initial plan is to conduct outreach in Ramsey County to Blue Plus members whose primary language is Hmong, Somali, Spanish and Karen.
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