CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Plan Maryland and Live Chair Health Partner on Pilot Program to Increase Access to Healthcare in MD
Health plan and startup connect around mission to create better health outcomes by meeting them where they are – in trusted community spaces
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Plan Maryland (CareFirst CHPMD) and Live Chair Health (Live Chair) announced they are partnering to bring greater healthcare access to residents in trusted community spaces in Baltimore City and three Maryland counties: Prince George’s, Montgomery and Baltimore counties.
Andrew Suggs founded Live Chair following his father’s death in 2020. He is on a mission to save lives by reaching underserved community members where they are—first in salons and barbershops and now expanding into other community-based organizations, such as Faith institutions and housing developments, among others. This type of on-the-ground engagement significantly impacts the lives of minority communities by empowering them with the knowledge and resources they need to stay well.
According to CareFirst CHPMD, about forty percent of CareFirst CHPMD’s Medicaid recipients have not seen a primary care physician in the last 12 months. Seeking preventive care before experiencing a significant health event can prevent potentially lengthy hospital stays or Emergency Department visits and reduce healthcare costs.
In Prince George’s, Montgomery and Baltimore counties, Live Chair will reach out to CareFirst CHPMD members each month to act as an access point into the healthcare system to help improve health outcomes at a community level: helping members understand their benefits, choose a physician, and schedule their first appointment. One added layer is working with the CareFirst CHPMD care management team to close social determinants of health gaps that are identified.
“CareFirst’s responsibility to our communities is not just to pay for care; it’s to create coordinated care and increase access and affordability across the healthcare delivery system,” said Mike Rapach, President and CEO of CareFirst CHPMD. “Live Chair connects minority populations who are historically underserved and under-resourced to accessible care in a way that makes them feel seen in the healthcare system. This partnership is centered on meeting people where they are, no matter where they are in their healthcare journey.”
CareFirst CHPMD was first introduced to Live Chair through 1501 Health, which is the year-long incubation and investment program from CareFirst’s innovation and investment arm, Healthworx, and LifeBridge Health. This payer-provider partnership offers early-stage companies with investment, expertise and support. Live Chair was a member of the first cohort.
“It is essential for Live Chair to be involved in this work because it allows us to inch closer to achieving our vision of closing the life expectancy and health equity gap for underserved communities,” said Andrew Suggs, Co-Founder and CEO of Live Chair. “An extended partnership with CareFirst enables us to serve exponentially more members by raising awareness, connecting them to care and ultimately leading to stronger, healthier communities.”
Concurrent with this pilot, CareFirst and Live Chair are working together to close the gap in lead-based screenings for children. Recognizing that some families are hesitant about answering phone calls from insurance companies or unknown numbers, Live Chair will run lead-based educational events and leverage community health workers to reach out to residents to talk about the importance of lead-based screenings and assist with scheduling appointments.
About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
In its 85th 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 3.6 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2021, CareFirst invested $26.2 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.
About Live Chair Health
Live Chair Health is a culturally relevant community platform powered by tech-enabled services. Live Chair Health helps health plans and health systems engage and activate their members, especially those whom they have historically struggled to reach, such as minorities and underserved populations. By combining the best of community-organizing, consumer marketing, and technology, they work with, and empower, these respective communities and create lasting change from the bottom-up to build stronger and healthier communities.