Company will donate up to $1.7 million to regional community organizations on the frontlines of vaccination efforts
Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C. – Today, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), a not-for-profit and the largest healthcare company in the mid-Atlantic region, announced it is expanding the impact of its “Better Together” COVID-19 vaccination adoption campaign through a new pledge targeted to all its employees and contingent workers. The effort seeks to protect the public’s health by inspiring employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus when eligible. CareFirst also invited local and regional organizations to join in the initiative by pledging to do the same with their employees. CareFirst will donate $100 for every CareFirst employee and contingent worker pledge and $1,000 for each organization pledge. Donations are expected to reach as much as $1.7 million and will be shared among several regional community organizations contributing to historic efforts to achieve target vaccination rates necessary to end the devastating impacts of this pandemic.
“It is CareFirst’s responsibility as a healthcare company and leading employer to protect the health and safety of our employees and the communities where we live and work,” said Brian D. Pieninck, President and CEO of CareFirst. “While today’s headlines and social media content are consumed with stories and images of current vaccine availability and distribution efforts, in this moment, it is also critically important we focus on building support for broad public vaccine adoption as supply increases. The ‘Better Together’ pledge is an opportunity for our workforce and organizations throughout the region to join together and protect the health of our communities through a shared commitment to taking the COVID-19 vaccine when we are all eligible and able. Taking action together to protect ourselves and others will have a meaningful impact as we work to end this pandemic.”
Pieninck kicked off the initiative and signed the pledge at a company-wide virtual town hall on Friday, February 12. “This could be one of the most important contributions we make as a company to the COVID-19 recovery,” said Pieninck. “I hope each of us will pledge to protect the health of our communities and support these great regional organizations fighting against this virus. I am confident in our employees’ power as Difference Makers at CareFirst and as role models in their neighborhoods. I am proud to take this pledge with our associates and my peers and set an example that helps motivate public action to lift us out of this health crisis.” The CareFirst employee Better Together Pledge is scheduled to run through March 12, the one-year anniversary of the company’s first day of remote work.
CareFirst will introduce the Better Together Community Organization Pledge later this month. “I am excited to welcome other organizations and expand the impact of the ‘Better Together’ campaign,” said Mack McGee, CareFirst’s V.P. and Chief Marketing Officer. “Together, we will work to reach vaccination levels that protect the neighborhoods and communities throughout our region. We are eager to show our support of those pledging to start programs for their employees that drive similar behavior and build broad commitment.” This pledge is open to groups in the region and all CareFirst accounts and is scheduled to run through March 31. CareFirst will hold a panel event – Reaching Immunity takes a Community – on February 24 featuring medical experts and community leaders to kick-off the initiative. Organizations interested in joining this event can find more information on the registration page. Donations from the initiatives will be given to several organizations helping with vaccination efforts in our region and in locations where CareFirst employs its workforce including CASA de Maryland, United Way of the National Capital Area and West Virginia Health Right.
As part of this announcement, CareFirst will also support employees to get the COVID-19 vaccinations. Employees and contingent workers will be paid for up to four hours (per dose) to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. This policy provides flexibility so the workforce can get vaccinated at the times and places that best meet their needs regardless of the work week’s usual constraints. The company stressed that employees should follow the vaccine guidelines in the local jurisdictions where they live and get the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible and medically appropriate for them.
The employee pledge and community organization challenge are essential elements of CareFirst’s multi-channel “Better Together” COVID-19 vaccination education and mobilization campaign launched earlier this month. Also included in the campaign rollout was a new public health TV ad – The Deal – and other advertising assets that ask viewers to take the COVID-19 vaccine when they can, “for you, for me and everyone you love.” “Better Together” will continue to expand over the weeks and months ahead with a continued focus on collaboration with state and local public health officials and community partners.
CareFirst will continue to work with jurisdictions and public health authorities to provide support, identify barriers and create solutions to coronavirus care for our members, employees and the communities we serve. Visit CareFirst’s COVID Resource Center, social media channels and website to remain updated on the latest information.
About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
In its 83rd year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit healthcare company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2019, CareFirst invested $43 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of healthcare throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com and our transforming healthcare page at www.carefirst.com/transformation, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.