A Year in Lockdown

Kristen Cerf
President and CEO, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan

April 30, 2021


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While the last year certainly presented itself with challenges, I am grateful for the teamwork my colleagues have put forth, to continue meeting the needs of our members. 

In 2020, we invested over $2 million in more than 100 community-based and provider partner organizations serving and supporting our members to help build healthier communities.  The organizations that received funds have programs that address health education, mental health awareness, trauma due to violence, and food insecurities.  This was especially important during COVID-19.  Blue Shield Promise provided an additional $100,000 in grants for food distribution services support during the pandemic, serving nearly 5,500 families.

Our focus continues to be addressing our members’ needs right now, and preparing for whatever may come in the future. Our mission is to ensure that all Californians have access to high-quality health care.

An important part of overall care that has gained much attention during this pandemic is mental health, especially for our youth.  Through Blue Shield BlueSky program, we began offering online access to mental health and COVID-19 resources for parents/guardians and their children. A new series of five guides covering a wide range of youth mental health issues, including trauma, racism, depression, LGBTQ+ issues, and anxiety were recently introduced online. The guides provide tips on how to identify mental health challenges, as well as resources for taking action to address concerns and access professional help. Blue Shield Promise also committed a nearly $1M investment in innovative programs that support behavioral health and well-being

Continuing to put our members’ care first, we now have five jointly-operated Community Resource Centers with L.A. Care.  We are the first two plans to collaborate to connect under-resourced communities with these much-needed services and resources, helping to address their most pressing social needs. 

While the Community Resource Centers are physically closed due to COVID-19, we still served our community through free virtual programming, and a series of drive-thru food pantries, back-to-school backpack giveaways, and free drive-through flu shots. 

Our members are at the heart of our mission. We will deepen our relationships in California - meeting members where they are - and assisting our communities with expanded services addressing food insecurities, domestic violence support and community solution response efforts. 

As we enter spring time and a sense of renewal, please continue to stay safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones.