President and Chief Executive Officer
What does it mean to be taken care of?
In our increasingly busy lives, with work and family obligations, it can be difficult to remember to stop and take care of our own health. And when we finally find time to invest in our health, it can be overwhelming to wade through information and navigate a complex healthcare system. Here at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we’ve been investing in the health of our fellow Arkansans for more than 70 years, providing reliable health insurance to give our members peace of mind. And investing in their communities statewide to build a happier, healthier Arkansas overall. It’s this core purpose that has brought us to where we are today and will take us into the decades ahead.
Supporting our Members’ Health
We understand the unique physical, mental, and socio-economic factors that can impact an individual’s health, and we’re committed to providing resources that address more than just the physical.
At Arkansas Blue Cross, we have a team of specialists called Case Managers who help members, their families, doctors and nurses collaborate and ensure members’ whole health is addressed. Nurse case managers like Robin Hughes, R.N., work to support members like David, who have unique health needs. Our case managers advocate on behalf of members to help manage their care plan across multiple specialists so that members can receive healthcare to prevent illness and help them heal.
Six months before he met Robin, David was living with severe lung damage as a result of contracting COVID-19. With Robin’s help, David was able to access the resources he needed to get assistance with his mortgage, utilities and cleaning his home as he healed.
Our case management programs have made a lasting, positive impact on the health of our members, and we’re committed to continuing to support all aspects of our members’ health.
Investing In Community Health
Through community investments and partnerships, we’re working to ensure that every Arkansan has access to quality, affordable, and equitable care. From funding projects and initiatives through the Blue & You Foundation to supporting local community spaces, we’re investing in a healthier future and inspiring our neighbors to pay it forward.
As a native Arkansan, it’s important to me to participate in and give back to the community that shaped me. I was early in my career when I discovered my passion for tackling the challenge of healthcare affordability, and I’ve dedicated my career at Arkansas Blue Cross to doing just that. In my free time, I am an avid runner and enjoy investing in my own health and participating in the community by running races.
David Bridges and Curtis Barnett (right) at the Bentonville Half Marathon
Our employees are also invested in making positive changes within their communities. Employees at the Arkansas Blue Welcome Center in Jonesboro (a regional office for Arkansas Blue Cross) donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the First Free Will Baptist Church sanctuary through the Jonesboro-based Community Health Education Foundation (CHEF) AED Placement Program. That donation, and quick action from his congregation, went on to save the life of Deacon Phil Cook, who experienced cardiac arrest in the church. The congregation went on to pay it forward to another church in the community, paying for and presenting an AED for First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), again through CHEF.
Supporting the PCMH program
Health isn’t just determined by our physical needs. It is also determined in part by social determinants of health – where we live, how safe or stressful our environments are, and our access to quality education, healthy foods and transportation. For this reason, we also invest in initiatives such as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH). PCMH (a program of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) encourages primary care clinics to deliver evidence-based care to patients through innovation and a holistic approach. Arkansas Blue Cross helped bring the PCMH program to Arkansas and is proud to be one of the payers who reward participating clinics that make a positive impact on their patients and their communities. When some folks in the town of Gould, population 837, struggled to find places to wash their clothes, PCMH St. Elizabeth Health & Dental Center added washers and dryers to its long list of provided services. The clinic serves as a gathering place and community lifeline, providing necessary health resources to the residents of Gould.
Local gathering spaces are key pillars of our communities where people seek fellowship and support. By investing in these spaces, we’re directly investing in the health and wellness of all Arkansans.
Not only does our company invest in members and communities, our employees personally invest in keeping our diverse and amazing state strong.
In 2022 alone, they supported 24 worthy causes and contributed to various charities amounting to almost $40,000. They hosted four blood drives and three supply drives, hosted vaccination events, packed meals, tutored and read to children, and have pledged to give almost $128,000 to battling food insecurity, supporting our youth through Boys & Girls Clubs, helping those who suffer with heart disease and diabetes, addressing behavioral health needs and more.
And that’s just one year and a tiny portion of what they are passionate about doing all year long, every year.
We are dedicated to listening to our members and our communities and providing support so that you and the ones you love can live your best life, your whole life long. Our heartfelt hope is that you’ll take good care of your mind, body, spirit, soul, friends, and family, giving yourself – and those you love – all you need to stay healthy, happy and well.
Take good care, Arkansas.