CHICAGO —Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is teaming with Access Community Health Network (ACCESS) on efforts to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines in underserved neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic.
ACCESS will be using two of BCBSIL’s Blue Door Neighborhood CenterSM (BDNC) locations as additional COVID-19 vaccination sites to vaccinate current, eligible patients who have an appointment. The locations, in Chicago’s South Lawndale and Morgan Park neighborhoods, give eligible ACCESS patients in-neighborhood options to make an appointment to receive a vaccine and also to learn about additional health education and wellness services offered by both ACCESS and the Blue Door Neighborhood Center.
“Our Blue Door Neighborhood Centers are designed to make a community-level impact on public health,” said Steve Hamman, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “By collaborating with Access Community Health Network at our sites, we’re extending access to vaccines in these neighborhoods and are able to introduce those ACCESS patients to our Blue Door programming and make connections to support services we know can impact health, such as lack of access to healthy food, transportation or housing.”
Serving more than 175,000 patients each year, ACCESS is focused on first vaccinating its most vulnerable patients that are eligible under the State of Illinois’ IB Part 2 guidelines. As a community health care leader, ACCESS understands how critical the COVID-19 vaccine is to its eligible patients who struggle with chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and autoimmune diseases, like HIV. To further remove barriers for eligible patients, ACCESS is offering complimentary transportation assistance to all patients with a vaccine appointment who need assistance in getting to the vaccination location.
“By extending our vaccination services beyond our walls to two of the area’s Blue Door Neighborhood Centers, it allows our providers to get more of our most vulnerable patients in for vaccination and helps to accommodate those patients that are essential workers that need more flexibility on weekends,” said ACCESS CEO Donna Thompson. “Our goal is to continue to expand our capacity and vaccine supply so that we can also offer vaccinations to community residents in the future.”
BDNC locations have been offering virtual-only programming during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue providing a robust selection of online classes and services while ACCESS conducts its appointment-only vaccination clinics. No walk-ins will be accepted.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is not involved in scheduling or distribution of the vaccines, or the provision of any direct health care services, as neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois nor its BDNC sites are health care providers.
This collaboration with Access Community Health Network is just one of the ways BCBSIL is supporting the health, safety and wellbeing of its members, providers and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional details can be found here.
- Members: We have worked to help provide information, education and expanded access to covered health care services such as vaccines, testing, pharmacy and telehealth.
- Providers: We have created a special COVID-19 site to give providers the most up-to-date information on how to work with our members to navigate rapidly changing developments during the pandemic.
- Communities: We created a COVID-19 Community Collaboration Fund, with two rounds of funding totaling $4.5M to help social service organizations further their work in the areas of access to health care, hunger and shelter. Additionally, we contributed $1M to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund and $500,000 to the Chicago COVID-19 Response Fund, as well as direct donation of PPE, food and school supplies to people in communities across Illinois. Our Care Van® program worked with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to launch a CDPH mobile response team to immunize front-line essential workers against COVID-19.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is committed to expanding access to quality, cost-effective health care to as many people as possible in Illinois. BCBSIL is dedicated to innovation and exploring, nurturing and activating future possibilities to make the health care system work better for our members and our communities. BCBSIL is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.