“Healthcare inequities have made access to quality healthcare unattainable for thousands of people living in our community. As a local, not-for-profit health insurer, Blue KC has long been committed to improving the health and wellness of our members and communities. We recognize we need to do more. As a result, we are addressing existing healthcare disparities, promoting inclusion and empowerment and collaborating with area leaders and providers to drive health equity.” Erin Stucky, President and CEO
Good health shouldn’t be affected by the color of our skin, the neighborhood where we live, our social class or needs, physical disabilities, functional limitations, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Unfortunately, generations of systems and structures have contributed to health and healthcare disparities based on these and other factors. This takes a damaging toll on the physical health, mental health, and well-being of thousands of people in our communities.
In addition, health data shows people of color are disproportionately affected by health inequities, leading to increases in chronic conditions, poorer health outcomes, and significantly shorter lifespans.
As the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Missouri and the only not-for-profit commercial health insurer in Kansas City, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) is developing strategies and investing in community initiatives that will lead to more equitable health opportunities and positive outcomes.
We have committed $150,000 to support parental and child health through a partnership with the March of Dimes. In addition, we are awarding a $50,000 parental and child health grant to drive research to address inequities in our community and create a community where parents and babies are healthy, regardless of wealth, race or geography.
Blue KC is also taking part in The Kansas City Health Equity Learning and Action Network (LAN) – a partnership between the Health Forward Foundation, the Kansas City Health Collaborative, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The LAN provides education, training, and tools to make meaningful systemic and structural changes to reduce and eliminate disparities in healthcare delivery and realize measurable improvements in health outcomes. By leveraging the collective efforts of our healthcare and community leadership, this effort will catalyze and sustain equity centered and culturally responsive healthcare that yields equitable health outcomes for all.
In addition, Blue KC is launching a pilot program for Community Health Workers (CHWs) focused on social needs, ER utilization, parental and child health, and racialized disparities across Jackson and Wyandotte counties, where racialized disparities reflect the highest regional gaps in care.
To better inform providers, Blue KC is implementing an education and consultation program focused on implicit bias, performance evaluation of health disparities, and preference matching. Blue KC has also launched the “We ask because we care” campaign, to assist members with questions related to Blue KC’s collection and use of REAL (Race, Ethnicity, and Language), SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) and functionality data. The collection of this data is key to identifying existing structural gaps and ways to drive quality and equity more effectively.
Everyone has the right to optimal health and well-being. As a health insurance organization, we are committed to act with intention and urgency to help eradicate the structural factors that drive health inequities. Join us as we work to improve health and quality of life for individuals and families in the communities we serve and beyond.