In the spring of 2020, overwhelmed with a surge in critical COVID-19 cases, New York State called for medical workers to join their front-line medical teams in the fight against the deadly virus. Soon after, news reports stated that over 90,000 retired and active health care workers from across the country signed up to volunteer. Christine Goodwin, a registered nurse and case manager with Centene’s New York subsidiary, Fidelis Care, was among those medical professionals who answered the call. She reported to the front lines, working 12-hour shifts, caring for COVID-19 patients in a Buffalo, NY hospital. “I feel very privileged to work for a company that allowed me to do this,” she said.
For more than 35 years, Centene has remained deeply committed to transforming the health of the communities it serves. Today, it is a leading multi-national health care enterprise, serving one in 15 Americans across all 50 states. Centene is the nation’s largest Medicaid managed care organization, the No. 1 carrier in the nation on the Health Insurance Marketplace and the national leader in managed long-term services and supports.
When the coronavirus quickly spread across the U.S., Centene’s role in serving our members and communities is more essential than ever. One of Centene’s early responses to the pandemic was the creation of a Medical Reserve Leave policy that provides employees with clinical experience up to three months paid leave to serve on the COVID-19 front lines. Employee response sparked an update to the policy to include up to five days of paid leave for employees who want to provide non-medical care support related to a medically declared state of emergency.
Centene nurses answer the call
Throughout history, nurses have provided care during times of crisis, and that tradition continues at Centene. Nurses across the enterprise have served in a variety of front-line positions during the pandemic, including direct patient care, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations and training for crisis counseling helplines.
Kim Henrichsen is a registered nurse who serves as Centene’s senior vice president of Population Health and Clinical Operations. She said, “Many of our nurses have expressed an interest in volunteering in their communities to provide much-needed relief to their colleagues providing direct care in hospitals and other settings.”
Jerrie McClain is a case manager and registered nurse at Buckeye Health Plan, Centene’s health plan in Akron, Ohio. She signed up to help administer vaccines through Ohio’s Board of Nursing. “As a nurse, I am proud to work for a company that allows me to help others. I wanted to serve on the front line of this deadly virus,” McClain said. “Together we will get through this and be better and stronger.”
Increased member support
As health care professionals around the globe are wrestling with the threat that COVID-19 presents, nurse-led care teams at Centene health plans are working with members to keep them safe and healthy. Henrichsen says, “The pandemic has created new challenges for all of us and our care management teams have inspired me as I’ve watched them creatively work to ensure our members have access to continuation of critical supports and services. Nurses are helping members understand COVID-19 prevention and they’re working with families to address basic needs during this crisis.”
Sheila Rupi is a registered nurse and care manager with Centene’s Missouri health plan, Home State Health. “We help many of our members manage complex health issues, and COVID-19 was a very real and dangerous threat to this vulnerable population,” says Rupi. “Members that I work with are dealing with the aftermath of the virus long after they’re released from the hospital. That makes being here for our members all the more important. We are going to help them on this long journey back to health.”
Centene is grateful for the tireless service of its clinical teams, whether they are providing front-line treatment, ensuring continuity of care for our membership or improving the health of our communities.
To learn more about Centene’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, go to centene.com/covid-19-resource-center.