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30 years in, serving TennCare members is more important than ever

Originally published in The Tennessean, May 2024

TennCare’s CHOICES program provides home and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities. I recently heard the story of one of those members, and it offers a perfect summary of our work at BlueCare Tennessee.  

We coordinated a plan of care for this member that involves an in-home caregiver who assists with preparing meals, daily exercises, and any number of tasks.  

“I don’t have any family left, but she is like family to me now,” the member said of her caregiver.

“She helps with everything I need, and she does so with a happy heart. She never makes me feel like a burden.” 

Service worth celebrating

This year marks the 30th anniversary of BlueCare Tennessee, a BlueCross subsidiary serving TennCare members. For the past three decades — and long before I joined the team — the member comes first at BlueCare. There’s meaning and authenticity in the way we connect with the people we serve, and we’re often a lifeline for folks who desperately need it.  

What we’ve learned over 30 years is that even with new challenges, as well as improved technologies and treatments, we’re still a people business. And our focus has evolved to have a deeper understanding of our members and meeting them where they are  — even in the most difficult moments — and work as hard as we can to help them find solutions.   

This commitment is reflected in our community-based initiatives, which include: 

  • Providing health education and organizing well-child screening events 
  • Raising awareness about the importance of timely prenatal and postpartum care  
  • Developing solutions to assist children in state custody 
  • Collaborating with organizations to bolster resources for addressing social needs 

We recognized years ago that we first need to address our members’ basic needs. The conditions where people live, learn, work, and play can affect a wide range of health and quality-of-life risks and outcomes.

BlueCare has taken an active role in advancing health equity  by working to ensure all members have appropriate access to health care and needed services.  

We use data-driven strategies to address health, racial, and disability barriers to improve equitable care and outcomes in urban, suburban and rural communities across Tennessee. We utilize our health equity data to drive innovations in outreach/engagement and transformations to the health care delivery system. 

And we’re excited by what remains on deck for 2024 and beyond: 

  • Expansion of maternal health resources and behavioral health initiatives  
  • Rural health outreach 
  • Enhancing our network for members with intellectual and developmental disabilities by identifying providers who are intentional in creating welcoming spaces for those members and their caregivers 
  • Strengthening our provider partnerships to provide improved supports for members with complex health conditions and needs 

Every act can have impact

The CHOICES member I mentioned earlier said the support she receives from BlueCare has made her feel “100% and human again.” I was struck by her use of that word — human. It’s a feeling many of us take for granted. But both the large and small changes in someone’s quality of life can be impactful. 

At the end of the day, we want to help our members live their lives to their fullest potential.  It’s what we’ve been doing for 30 years, and we look forward to working with our partners and our communities to continue doing so. 

About Casey Dungan, President and Chief Executive Officer, BlueCare Tennessee

A photo of the authorAs president and CEO of BlueCare Tennessee, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Casey leads an organization serving more than 700,000 of Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents.

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