As COVID-19 began to spread, Health Care Service Corporation employees acted quickly to stand with our heath plan members, customers, communities and one another.
The pandemic caused many people across our five states to struggle accessing food, employment and health support — and they turned to local resources for help. In response, we created the COVID-19 Community Collaboration Fund to support local organizations providing resources to those most impacted by the pandemic.
Organizations like Hope, which provides educational, residential and health services to young people in Illinois who have developmental and physical disabilities, and the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Fund, established to address urgent needs of the community in New Mexico, were among the 128 organizations and funds to receive grants across our five states.
HCSC was a founding partner of the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition, a challenge to scientists and innovators to make COVID-19 testing fast, cheap and reliable. Nearly 220 teams submitted tests to the final XPRIZE challenge, and 20 advanced to the final testing rounds that started in November.
Those finalists needed to administer and process 500 screenings per week for 60 days and demonstrate the ability to scale their product to win the $5 million total grand prize.
“One of our strengths at HCSC is that we can respond to local needs because we operate in five states," said Clarita Santos, HCSC's executive director of community health initiatives. "But we can also respond to broader needs because we’re national in scope.”
Our employees also gave their time, energy and expertise to stand with their community members during the pandemic.
Dr. Alex Lesko, a medical director and one of roughly 3,000 clinicians working at HCSC, volunteered on the COVID-19 front lines in New York City through a program launched as part of HCSC’s pandemic response. The program allowed clinician employees to take time off to volunteer to care for COVID-19 patients and be paid for up to 80 hours of that time.
“We knew there were clinicians who work for us who had a desire to do something more and help," said John Hosea, HCSC's vice president of human resources benefits and operations. "It really strikes at the heart of what we do.”
HCSC employees and senior leaders also went directly into their communities to pass out masks at events organized by our plans. For instance, Anthony Frieson, a developer with HCSC whose sister was the first Illinois resident to dive from the virus, was one of several volunteers who distributed 100,000 face coverings in 10 Chicago neighborhoods hit particularly hard by the virus.
HCSC provided fully insured customers a premium credit worth $238 million to reflect their employees’ lower medical costs in 2020 as people delayed non-urgent medical care to comply with social distancing guidelines. Adjustments to group and individual rates are delivering $431 million in savings in 2021.
To remove barriers to care during the public health emergency, copays and other cost-sharing were lifted for COVID-19 testing and treatment and for services delivered by telemedicine.
— Maurice Smith, President and CEO, HCSC
$8 million distributed to 128 local organizations through the COVID-19 Community Collaboration Fund
$238 million in premium relief delivered to fully insured group customers
$385 million in savings for members and families through cost-sharing waivers for telehealth services, COVID-19 testing and treatment
HCSC makes strategic investments to serve as a force multiplier in the communities where our members live, work and play.
Some are direct investments into a community. In 2020, HCSC’s Illinois plan transformed an abandoned retail store in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood into a 130,000 square-foot employee workspace and community-facing Blue Door Neighborhood CenterSM.
The site will house up to 550 employees that support members and network providers. Roughly 70% of new hires live within 10 miles of the center. The building’s Blue Door Neighborhood Center is a place for community members to connect with each other and focus on their whole-person health — including physical, mental, environmental and social factors that impact well-being.
“This once-empty site will now give Morgan Park residents and surrounding communities long-overdue access to the quality health and wellness resources that they need to stay healthy during these uncertain times,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at the ribbon-cutting event.
Other investments involve amplifying the efforts of nationwide and local nonprofits who provide vital resources in our communities.
To help address rising food insecurity in our communities due to COVID-19, we worked with Feeding America, a national nonprofit with a mission to end hunger in America, to support 27 food banks in 2020. Through our collaboration, the food banks distributed 1.4 million meals in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® grants are another annual giving opportunity. Through HKHF, HCSC invested nearly $6.5 million in 2020 in 124 nonprofit partners that work with children and their families on nutrition, physical activity, preventing and managing disease, and supporting safe environments.
HCSC employees also gave their own time and money to support their neighbors. Nearly 4,500 HCSC employees volunteered their time in 2020 to a variety of causes, and their effort is amplified as HCSC donates $20 for every volunteer hour logged with a community partner.
— Clarita Santos, executive director of corporate and civic partnerships, HCSC
HCSC’s overall connection to the communities we serve was one of the reasons Points of Light recognized HCSC as one of its Civic 50 honorees in 2020. The Civic 50 award recognizes the 50 most community-minded companies that use their resources to improve the quality of life in their communities.
1.4 million meals distributed across 27 food banks through Feeding America partnership
80,221 hours volunteered by 4,484 employees
79,735+ immunizations and health services provided through 25 Care Vans
Our initiatives to improve increasecare access to care, affordability and equity contribute directly to our mission to do everything in our power to stand with our members.
Many of our plan members live in rural parts of the country where accessing care can be a challenge. For instance, both hospitals in Milam County, Texas, closed recently, leaving residents with a 45-minute drive to receive care after primary care clinics close for the night or weekend.
Texas A&M University received a $10 million grant from HCSC’s Texas Plan to fund a project testing innovative ways to solve the problem of rural access to care. One solution is being piloted in Milam County — a telemedicine “kiosk” or health care station where residents can receive care outside of normal office hours.
— Shara McClure, divisional vice president of health care delivery, HCSC’s Texas Plan
Members in Montana are benefitting from a collaboration with a local health system to expand access to telemedicine. The program uses the TytoCare platform to connect patients with their St. Peter’s Health primary care doctor virtually. An at-home diagnostic tool allows clinicians to hear patients’ lungs and heart, take a temperature, and look inside the throat and ears or at a rash.
St. Peter’s distributed 200 of the devices to patients and conducted 9,000 visits in 2020. "In a rural state like Montana, this can really help a family like ours. It relieves so much stress," said Amy Hasselbach, a TytoCare user.
Part of increasing access to care involves growing the number of clinicians to provide that care.
Our plans in New Mexico and Texas partnered with local universities to bolster their state’s health care workforce. New Mexico State University’s College of Health and Social Services created a new faculty position and funded 40 scholarships for nursing and social work graduates who committed to practicing in the state for at least one year. Meanwhile, the University of Houston College of Medicine is using a donation to provide scholarships to at least 35 medical students and attract students from diverse backgrounds with an interest in primary care.
In Oklahoma, our plan donated to the Physician Loan Repayment Program, which pays off loans of physicians who agree to practice in underserved areas of the state. In 2020, it enabled Dr. Tammy M. Tandberg-Willcox to practice family medicine in Hugo, Oklahoma.
COVID-19 and social unrest in 2020 laid bare the inequities in our health care system. Our Illinois plan used its unique position within that system to partner with providers and combat social factors that impact health.
The Health Equity Hospital Quality Incentive Pilot Program supports hospitals serving the highest concentrations of our Illinois plan members who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19. Post-pandemic, the program will work to elevate a focus on health equity and reducing racial and ethnic disparities in care.
The program supplements or replaces existing bonus programs to collectively provide roughly $100 million in funding to participating hospitals that demonstrate a commitment to pursuing health equity and reducing health disparities over the next three years.
“By increasing provider capacity and capabilities to deliver care that is more equitable, we are aiming to make demonstratable progress, which is long overdue," said Salma Khaleq, vice president of provider strategy and partnerships for HCSC’s Illinois plan.
17 million members
HCSC prioritizes operating in an ethical and sustainable manner for the good of our employees, members and clients.
The environment plays a large role in people’s health and well-being, with studies linking quality of environment with residents’ physical and mental health
About 20,000 honeybees have called the roof of our Chicago headquarters home since 2019. By giving two hives a safe environment to live in, HCSC is boosting the city’s bee population and improving the pollination of local flowers and crops. “Hosting beehives is a testament to our desire and willingness to do whatever we can to have a positive impact on our community,” said HCSC sustainability engineering consultant Yusra Saad Sarhan.
We are committed to lowering our energy consumption and carbon footprint as well. Our headquarters buildings in Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and Illinois, as well as our new facility in Morgan Park in Chicago, are Fitwel certified, meaning they support healthier workplace environments to improve occupant health and productivity. HCSC’s headquarters in Montana and Texas are LEED certified, a recognition given to buildings that are energy efficient.
Our overall sustainability efforts earned us our highest climate change grade ever from CDP, an A-. CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, collects environmental impact data from companies and scores them to incentivize and guide them to be leaders on environmental transparency and action. HCSC participates in CDP to increase transparency in our sustainability initiatives.
World’s Most Ethical Company for 5 straight years
1.4 million pounds
of paper recycled
of our electricity comes from renewable energy
HCSC is committed to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and we know the positive impact a diverse workforce can have on our customers, our communities and our company.
Our approach to diversity and inclusion engages leaders to ensure there is alignment at an executive level. The Executive D&I Council, made up of nine senior leaders from across the business, meets quarterly to promote a shared commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace.
In 2020, the council supported the launch of a new Talent Landscape, focusing on enhancing HCSC’s data and infrastructure. The Talent Landscape initiative is integral to attracting diverse talent and maintaining an inclusive workplace for all employees.
— Tom Lubben, chief ethics and compliance officer, HCSC
HCSC prioritizes building a talent pipeline for the future and aims to recruit top diverse candidates. As part of that effort, we’ve established deep, meaningful relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions. Through those partnerships, HCSC can fill current talent gaps and build a pipeline of diverse talent to fill future hiring needs.
Our hiring efforts are reflected in our employee demographics:
Once new employees are onboarded, our employee-led business resource groups (BRGs) are there to support, empower and connect them to the business, community, and one another.
When virtual meetings became the go-to in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, the In-Abled BRG — focused on disability awareness and inclusion — helped make closed captioning available upon request for any HCSC meeting. The BRG also hosted virtual “caregiver support” meetings to provide employees an outlet to share information, give feedback and stay connected during an uncertain time.
In-Abled’s efforts and the companywide commitment to diversity and inclusion was recognized in 2020 when HCSC received a perfect score on the Disability Equality Index from Disability:IN.
Nearly 6,000 employees participate in the nine BRGs at HCSC:
50 Out Front: #4 Best companies for Women and Diverse Managers to Work from DiversityMBA
50 Out Front: Best Places to Work for Women and Diverse Managers from DiversityMBA ranking in four categories:
Military Friendly Employers Designation and Bronze Status from G.I. Jobs
100% on the Corporate Equality Index-Best Places to Work from Human Rights Campaign Foundation
100% on the Disability Equality Index from Disability:IN
Best Employers for Diversity from Forbes