Excellus BCBS Awards Oneida Health Behavioral Health Grant

Kevin ProsserNews, Press Release

Pictured (left to right): Shayna Keller, Excellus BCBS Community Investments and Partnerships; Jonathan Schiller, Oneida Health President and CEO; Stephanie Watkins, Oneida Health Women’s Health/OB Care Coordinator; Eve Van de Wall, Excellus BCBS Regional President, Eileen Kilgore, RN, Oneida Health Practice Manager; Taylor Duell, RN, Oneida Health Clinical Coordinator at Women’s Health; Dr. Krislyn Flint, Medical Chair of Oneida Health OB/GYN Department; Kate Trombley, Oneida Health Foundation Director.

Oneida, NY – Today, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in partnership with Oneida Health announced the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Member and Community Health Improvement (MACHI) grant to support increased access to behavioral health services at Oneida Health.

The grant will award $150,000 over a three-year period to establish services to address mental health, substance abuse, or age-specific women’s behavioral health conditions of Oneida Health patients receiving care at its Women’s Health practice, Lullaby Center, or Emergency Department (ED).

The Member and Community Health Improvement (MACHI) grant program provides funding to local, nonprofit organizations that share Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s vision for healthier communities. These multi-year grants support initiatives with specific objectives and measurable outcomes for improving health. The company’s corporate giving follows all applicable laws and regulations and does not support funding organizations that conflict with its corporate mission, goals, policies, or products.

“Providing access to high-quality health care is core to our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Eve Van de Wal, regional president of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “We are excited to partner with Oneida Health to support this vital behavioral health program that addresses the needs of our region by increasing access to mental health and substance use services.”

The new Women’s Care Coordination Program at Oneida Health is primarily designed to bridge the gap between patients and access to mental health and substance abuse treatment services through a care-coordinated model. With a single point of contact, patients will now be able to receive coordinated care to a range of community resources and services that are available for women including but not limited to; mental health and substance abuse counseling, bereavement support, transportation, domestic violence advocacy, care management, and other community services that promote overall health and wellness.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the mental and behavioral health crisis we are facing in our communities,” said President and CEO Jonathan Schiller. “The need for coordinated behavioral health services has never been greater and represents a significant clinical health improvement priority for our medical staff and clinical team. Through the support provided by Excellus BCBS, we will be able to connect a critical network of services and resources that already exist within our communities to improve the outcomes and lives of our patients.”

With this program in place, Oneida Health aims to increase depression screenings for maternity and gynecological patients by 70% and to reduce return ED visits of those presenting with behavioral and mental health conditions by 17%. Achievement of these initiatives will drive early detection and treatment of behavioral health conditions and reduction in unnecessary return visits to the ED which may result in long-term hospitalization and more comprehensive care.

“We thank Excellus BCBS for their shared vision in addressing opportunities to improve the overall health of our communities,” said Schiller. “This program would not be possible without their support.”

For more information about Oneida Health, please visit oneidahealth.org.

About Oneida Health

Oneida Health is a regional integrated healthcare network based in Oneida, NY operated by Oneida Health Systems, a New York State not-for-profit corporation. From a four-bed hospital in 1899 to a local leader in patient care, Oneida Health has a singular vision for providing the highest levels of patient safety and experience through the perfect pairing of talented medical professionals and state-of-the-art technology. Offering physical rehabilitation, primary and specialty care, an award-winning hospital, and skilled nursing, Oneida Health invests in the health of our communities through a network of health services focused on long-term health and prevention. To learn more about Oneida Health, visit www.oneidahealth.org.

About Excellus BlueCross BlueShield:

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company’s mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.

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