KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Erin Stucky has been in her current role as CEO for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City for roughly a year. Every day during this pandemic, it’s been so much of the same —analyze and adjust.
Like many companies, Blue KC is keeping close tabs on its finances and it’s Stucky’s job to help navigate her 1300 employees and over a million members through this uncertainty.
The health insurance provider moved all employees to work-from-home a week before Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’ stay-at-home mandate. When employees do return to the downtown Kansas City Office, Stucky said they’ll notice several changes, including plexiglass throughout the lobby, an abundance of cleaning supplies and social distancing markers.
Stucky has reviewed the several measures put in place to keep employees safe upon return. The big question is when that return will happen.
“When you also take into account, the return to school for the kiddos is being pushed back to September 8,” she said.
As for the business model, Stucky realizes it’s constantly evolving. “There are challenges with every job and every industry and curve balls thrown at you all the time.”
One big way Blue KC stepped up to the plate is via telehealth. The provider’s telehealth usage from its clinics increased by 700 percent during this pandemic. Telehealth claims doctors or hospitals have filed went from fewer than a hundred a month to 57,000 since March.
“From a technology standpoint, that’s one thing COVID has really brought to light,” Stucky explained. “The advancements and the desire and need to do business differently and so that desires a different skill set to what we had previously.”
As for current jobs, if one becomes open, management discusses if the job needs to be backfilled or if it needs to be filled at all. There are no plans for layoffs or furlough — as of now.
As things slowly reopen, more people are going to the doctor and hospital for those routine and elective procedures which helps the bottom line for providers.
"The uncertainty for all of us is we don’t know what the fall will bring,” Stucky said. “So, we have no way of knowing will there be a resurgence of COVID this fall and what that will look like.”
The unknown, plus the upcoming flu season will create more questions than answers for just about everyone in the health industry.
“It is going to be different,” Stucky explained. “It’s going to continue to be different. I think we will continue to evolve as an organization.”
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