Here’s what’s in California’s contract with Blue Shield to manage state’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts

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California has released its contract with Blue Shield of California outlining how the nonprofit health insurer will serve as the state’s third-party administrator to build a vaccine network and increase the rate of allocation for doses.Vaccines will be sent directly to providers, and “real-time transparency” will show where the doses are and to whom they’ve been administered, according to the contract, which went into effect the beginning of this month.A release from the state said it chose to partner with Blue Shield “because of its robust network management expertise — its PPO network comprises 63,000+ physicians and 370-plus hospitals — and its experience as a health plan administrator for large employers, including large state accounts.Clark Kelso is a professor with the PacificMcGeorge School of Law. He said he believes this contract with Blue Shield will help pick up the state’s pace with vaccinations, particularly with people who might have had trouble accessing vaccine clinics.”This contract makes sure that people who are particularly at risk and people who have perhaps difficulty in getting access to health care, people who are in remote areas of the state, people who may be at home and can’t get out for the vaccine,” Kelso said. “This contract makes sure that those people are going to be served.”Below are some of the key goals for vaccine administration under the new contract:ACCESSTravel distance for a “sufficiently healthy person to drive or be transported in a vehicle from their home to a place they can receive a vaccine” should be less than 30 minutes for 95% of people living in urban areas and less than 60 minutes for those living in rural areas.Blue Shield will work with the state’s government operations agency to deliver vaccines to people “who are homebound or suffering from illnesses/disabilities that make it unsafe or prohibitively difficult for them to visit a Vaccine Provider for a vaccination.” This should be available in all 58 counties in the priority order designated by the Agency.CAPACITYThe number of vaccines that can be administered per week statewide should be 3 million a week by March 1 and 4 million a week by April 30.EQUITYStarting March 1 and on the first day of each subsequent month in the contract, the government operations agency will establish a monthly goal for the percentage of vaccines administered for populations identified as “under-resourced or disproportionately impacted populations.This also includes people who rank in the lowest quartile in the Healthy Places Index.”This is an extraordinarily complex venture that Blue Shield is willing to take on,” Kelso said of the contract’s guidelines. “To manage to get very quickly 30 million, 25 million doses or more spread around the state equitably, it’s going to take all of Blue Shield’s expertise in management and logistics to make this happen.”Read the full contract here.

California has released its contract with Blue Shield of California outlining how the nonprofit health insurer will serve as the state’s third-party administrator to build a vaccine network and increase the rate of allocation for doses.

Vaccines will be sent directly to providers, and “real-time transparency” will show where the doses are and to whom they’ve been administered, according to the contract, which went into effect the beginning of this month.

A release from the state said it chose to partner with Blue Shield “because of its robust network management expertise — its PPO network comprises 63,000+ physicians and 370-plus hospitals — and its experience as a health plan administrator for large employers, including large state accounts.

Clark Kelso is a professor with the PacificMcGeorge School of Law. He said he believes this contract with Blue Shield will help pick up the state’s pace with vaccinations, particularly with people who might have had trouble accessing vaccine clinics.

“This contract makes sure that people who are particularly at risk and people who have perhaps difficulty in getting access to health care, people who are in remote areas of the state, people who may be at home and can’t get out for the vaccine,” Kelso said. “This contract makes sure that those people are going to be served.”

Below are some of the key goals for vaccine administration under the new contract:

ACCESS

Travel distance for a “sufficiently healthy person to drive or be transported in a vehicle from their home to a place they can receive a vaccine” should be less than 30 minutes for 95% of people living in urban areas and less than 60 minutes for those living in rural areas.

Blue Shield will work with the state’s government operations agency to deliver vaccines to people “who are homebound or suffering from illnesses/disabilities that make it unsafe or prohibitively difficult for them to visit a Vaccine Provider for a vaccination.” This should be available in all 58 counties in the priority order designated by the Agency.

CAPACITY

The number of vaccines that can be administered per week statewide should be 3 million a week by March 1 and 4 million a week by April 30.

EQUITY

Starting March 1 and on the first day of each subsequent month in the contract, the government operations agency will establish a monthly goal for the percentage of vaccines administered for populations identified as “under-resourced or disproportionately impacted populations.

This also includes people who rank in the lowest quartile in the Healthy Places Index.

“This is an extraordinarily complex venture that Blue Shield is willing to take on,” Kelso said of the contract’s guidelines. “To manage to get very quickly 30 million, 25 million doses or more spread around the state equitably, it’s going to take all of Blue Shield’s expertise in management and logistics to make this happen.”

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