CHICAGO – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), a division of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), is celebrating the completion of its new multipurpose center in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood. BCBSIL today cut the ribbon on the 130,000 square foot space in Marshfield Plaza at 119th Street and Marshfield Avenue. The site has been transformed from an abandoned retail store into a vast employee workspace coupled with a community-facing Blue Door Neighborhood CenterSM (BDNC).
“We believe in the power of community and how collective action will drive long-term meaningful change for our members and employees where they live and work,” said Maurice Smith, president and CEO of Health Care Service Corporation. “This center, and our ongoing collaboration with the Morgan Park community, is all about creating opportunities and making intentional investments in our local neighborhoods such as new jobs, supporting local businesses and increased access to health and wellness programming. It is our communities that make us stronger.”
Nearly 100 people are among the first wave of employees working at the Morgan Park site. Hiring is rolling out in a phased approach. This site will eventually house up to 550 employees in roles that help BCBSIL support members and network providers. Hiring efforts have been focused around the Morgan Park area and almost 70% of new hires live within 10 miles of the center.
The Morgan Park location also features BCBSIL’s second Blue Door Neighborhood Center, which will focus on making a positive impact on the health of people beyond the walls of hospitals and physician offices. It’s a face-to-face, high-touch, hyper-local approach that represents a new way for BCBSIL to partner with the communities where we operate. The first BDNC opened in April 2019 in Pullman.
“Our Blue Door Neighborhood Centers are destinations for people to learn, connect and focus on their whole person health – which includes tackling the physical, mental, environmental and social factors that can impact wellbeing,” said Steve Hamman, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “We partner with local organizations to create a neighborhood-level coalition working toward the common goal of making a positive impact on community health.”
"COVID-19 has forced us to come face to face with the disproportionate levels of poverty and inequality that far too many Chicagoans face," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "However, thanks to companies and agencies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and Health Care Service Corporation, we are able to put ourselves on the fast track to finding holistic, long-term solutions that end the cycle of suffering for our residents. 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."
The Blue Door Neighborhood Centers offer no-cost programming such as low-impact fitness, educational classes on how to manage chronic health conditions, as well as information on how to best use health insurance. [i]
One of the new hires for Morgan Park’s BDNC is lifetime Morgan Park resident Aquea Wynn.
“I’m just so grateful right now — for those of us that live in the community, to be able to see a future giving back and working in the community that we live in,” said Aquea Wynn, health educator at the Blue Door Neighborhood Center. “Blue Cross planting themselves here in Morgan Park is a game changer and I am excited to start working to put my experience and knowledge into making Morgan Park a better place.”
BDNC locations are currently offering virtual programming due to COVID-19. Projected opening dates and web-based class offerings are available at bluedoorcenteril.com.
BCBSIL is furthering its footprint across Chicago neighborhoods. Later this fall, we’re opening a third Blue Door Neighborhood Center in South Lawndale’s Little Village neighborhood, at 2551 W. Cermak Road. And in 2021, we’ll be opening office space in the Mural Park development in Pilsen.
[i] While many resources are available, since health care providers are not located at Blue Door Neighborhood Centers, anyone experiencing an emergency or in need of urgent care, should call 911.
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.