Health Care Leaders Work to Keep New Jersey Communities Healthy During COVID-19

September 22, 2020

In August, Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) joined a virtual roundtable discussion hosted by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and attended by Mayor Michael Venezia of Bloomfield Township and representatives of University Hospital, Atlantic Health System and Jewish Family Services of Central New Jersey.

The conversation covered how New Jersey has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and the actions taken by elected officials, health insurance providers, health care providers and community groups that have a made a meaningful, measurable difference.

The big takeaway from the group as a whole was the incredible impact telehealth services, covered by health insurers, have had on New Jersey communities. As the state continues to work to overcome COVID-19, telehealth allows New Jerseyans to receive care from trusted physicians in the safety of their homes.

Representative Sherrill said, “I know how important telehealth has been to many in our community during this pandemic, so I really appreciate seeing the new standard of expanding and encouraging telehealth services, including behavioral health visits.”

Mental health services have been an especially pressing concern. Through collaboration, innovation and commitment to the health and well-being of the people of New Jersey, stakeholders have rallied around the challenge and found new ways to deliver the care people need. Said Thomas Beck, Executive Director, Jewish Family Services of Central New Jersey, “All of our licensed social workers are able to see people in the safety of their own homes. We’re very grateful to the insurance companies and also Medicaid for relaxing some of the requirements allowing us to do the tele-mental health work that we do.”

Dr. Don Liss, MD, Vice President, Health Care Management and Chief Medical Officer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Dr. Shereef Elnahal, President and Chief Executive Officer, University Hospital, both shared how hospitals and insurers continue to collaborate to ensure people have access to testing and doctors have the protective equipment they need.

Mayor Michael Venezia said he was focused on preventing a second surge: “We are doing a big push in the community. Making sure people know to wear face masks. Making sure when they enter municipal buildings or school buildings or public buildings that their temperature is going to be checked.”

Health care leaders across the spectrum, including insurers, providers, clinicians, elected officials, and community groups will continue to work together to support New Jerseyans, and the nation as a whole, during this critical time.

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