A message from Mark Ganz, retired CEO of Cambia Health Solutions. At the time of this blog Mark was our CEO.
We are still navigating through this national crisis, learning a different daily rhythm and starting to define a new “normal.” The past two weeks have been hard, as we continue to see the virus infection and death rates climb, and we know it will get worse before it gets better.
We have been touched with grief as employees have lost close family members to this pandemic. Perhaps some of you have been touched similarly. Grief is something we can share as humans, and one of the most personal things we can experience. I think many of us are also feeling the grief that comes from the loss of routine, social interaction, cancelled plans and of simply not knowing what lies ahead. Some of us are also dealing with anxiety, which is not unnatural in such times.
As we have all come to understand, we cannot avoid this crisis. We have to face it and walk through it. I believe in hard graces; this is surely one of them. We are seeing all around us the goodness in people born of this trial and the opportunity for greater reflection from spending more time at home.
The last month has been challenging at Cambia. We have made more decisions with short, medium- and long-term impact than we would typically make in a normal year. As I have told our employees, our company was built to serve during this time. Founded on the eve of the 1918 flu epidemic, the company now finds itself facing the same type of crucible 103 years later. We know many of the decisions we are making will have a significant financial impact on our company, but we believe we are doing the right thing, and staying consistent with our values.
Members and Partners
We have been fully covering the cost of testing and associated office visits for COVID-19, and last week announced our health plans would cover the cost of COVID-19 treatment at no cost to our members through June 30. In addition to supporting early refills of needed medication, we are ensuring care related to the virus is not restricted by preauthorization requirements. We are also promoting telehealth options which has the virtue of serving two concerns: members suffering from other ailments can be seen by a health care professional and we are giving an important financial lifeline to in-network providers by enabling them to provide telehealth services at the same cost as an in-person visit.
People show their true colors in times of trial and crisis, and I am certainly feeling grateful for the hues I see in our company. Employees are working very hard, laser-focused on serving our members with proactive and creative solutions to meet their needs. We are delivering the same personalized support to our employees, providing education and information, ensuring maximum flexibility, and giving financial support when needed. I am proud of the fact we were able to get all employees working remotely within a week and early on in this crisis, which we hope has prevented them from getting sick. I am incredibly thankful for the work they are doing despite the many hats they wear as professionals, parents, and in many situations as caregivers.
Professional and family caregivers are on the front lines of this crisis, and our new reality expands the definition of caregiving. Our unsung heroes now include the grocery store workers stocking our supplies, medical teams caring for us, truck drivers transporting our goods – all at the risk of their own health. I also appreciate the state and local officials who are critical to making it possible for us to work from home. We are partnering with Archangels to shine a light on caregivers and to create a national movement, much the same way we would support our troops during wartime. In my view this is a war and caregivers are the frontline troops. I have asked our employees, community partners and thought leaders in the health care industry to take this pledge with me, and I invite you to do the same.
To further understand the needs of our community, the Cambia Health Foundation conducted a philanthropic needs assessment which showed that food access has significantly decreased as a result of COVID-19. So, we are directing corporate funds and matching employee donations toward local area food banks. We have also initiated new investments of $500,000 to care for people and their families, as well as frontline health care workers.
I have hope and confidence we will look back on this time with a sense of pride in how we helped each other, lent a hand to a neighbor, served our customers with grace and compassion, faced hardship and came through the other side. Living through this time together will forever connect us. We may be physically farther apart, but figuratively we are closer than ever—as we share experiences, feel grief, and care for each other in our new normal.
For those of you observing this week, Happy Passover and Happy Easter!