By Terry Gilliland, M.D., Executive Vice President of Health Care Quality & Affordability, Blue Shield of California
At Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, we take the well-being and safety of our members very seriously, and that is especially true for those who come into our clinics in Palmdale and Lancaster. As soon as we learned about our Palmdale clinic staff’s Cinco de Mayo celebration outside the clinic this week, we immediately reviewed the incident with our clinic managers, who acknowledged that having a social event for staff outside the building at this time was not appropriate. We have referred this to the appropriate internal departments to ensure there is a thorough investigation with appropriate follow-up actions.
We are also taking immediate steps, including working with our staff to reinforce our commitment to following all of the current public health and safety protocols in place during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Inside the clinic, all staff have been wearing masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) when examining patients. Additionally, in April alone, the clinics provided nearly 400 telehealth visits to make sure patients had uninterrupted access to care during the pandemic. Our clinic employees have proactively reached out to patients over phone or mail to set up telehealth appointments and ensure patients’ access to needed medications. We are grateful for their efforts in these unprecedented times.
Still, we are taking this opportunity to re-emphasize our guidance to our staff about use of masks and social distancing, including during staff meals held outside the clinic. Our collective efforts against the coronavirus crisis have been a long journey for all of us, and we fully recognize we must maintain our vigilance.
At Blue Shield Promise, we feel it is a privilege to serve the residents and the community of Antelope Valley and we will always strive to do better.
Editor’s note: This op-ed was written in response to an op-ed published Thursday, May 7, titled: “Are local healthcare professionals breaking the face-mask rule?” View it here.