BlueCross Joins Organizations Nationwide In Recommending Improvements to Disaster Preparedness and Response

Report Outlines Actions to Strengthen Collaboration and Reduce Barriers

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is one of 100 leading healthcare organizations recommending targeted and actionable improvements to the nation’s capabilities for disaster preparedness and response.

The report, issued by the Healthcare Leadership Council’s National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, brings together insights from companies and organizations representing every sector of American healthcare, health policy circles and multiple government entities including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security.

“While this work was in progress before the onset of COVID-19, our real-life experiences dealing with the pandemic have helped better inform our recommendations,” said Dr. Andrea Willis, chief medical officer for BlueCross and a workstream chair for the report. “We want to emphasize the role policymakers can play in reducing barriers to care, with intentional focus on communities that have been disproportionately affected by each disaster.”

The recommendations are aimed at creating a reliable private-public collaboration that can rapidly and effectively address public health crises without unnecessary delays or breakdowns. The recommendations include:

  • Creating a standing White House disaster preparedness group that includes private sector expertise in areas such as production capacity, supply chain and distribution, and acute care delivery.
  • Modernizing the healthcare supply chain through digitalization, automation, and predictive analytics, with standardized approaches for allocating resources based on need and equity to prevent bidding wars between states and healthcare providers.
  • Improving supply chain resilience with strategic incentives such as zero percent loans, federally guaranteed purchase commitments, and geographic diversification of production for critical medical products.
  • Constructing a 21st century public health early warning system that will utilize all available electronic health records and public health data collection.
  • Legislating for regulatory reform to create rapid response capabilities in areas such as medical licensure portability, telehealth accessibility, and swift access to PPE stockpiles.
  • Creating measures to ensure health equity and address disparities, identifying high-risk vulnerable populations and directing resources accordingly.

“This report furthers the call for collaboration around social determinants of health,” Dr. Willis said. “It’s a roadmap that we’ll build upon as we continue to learn more.”

Following the release of the report and recommendations, involved organizations will begin working to encourage implementation. To learn more, access the full report.

About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc.®

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.4 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and has brought peace of mind to its members and local communities for more than 75 years. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at

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