Why All Leaders Need To Make Health Equity Their Business

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota launches campaign encouraging leaders to act on health inequities

EAGAN, Minn., Sept. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the country but is also home to some of the worst health inequities. The impacts of these inequities are far reaching and result in high rates of preventable disease and death, particularly in communities of color and American Indian communities.

This touches every part of the state, including Minnesota businesses. As demographics shift and baby boomers retire, Minnesota businesses are already seeing a shortage of workers - a trend that is projected to continue. If health inequities are not addressed, Minnesota will eventually lose its top spot as one of the healthiest states - and will continue to lose $2.26 billion a year because of decreased employment and productivity. It is critical to have healthy people from all communities to support business growth and economic vitality.

As part of an effort to raise greater awareness of health inequities and their impact, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) is launching a campaign called "Health Equity: Make it Your Business." The campaign focuses on helping Minnesotans - specifically business and health care leaders - to start seeing inequities and take tangible actions to address them.

"The health of many people in Minnesota is suffering due to deep and persistent health inequities, and this must be addressed," said Craig Samitt, president and chief executive officer at Blue Cross. "While we are strongly committed to the clinical care of our members, we also recognize that 90 percent of health happens outside of the doctor's office. Advancing health equity saves lives, saves money, increases productivity, and improves the health of all Minnesotans. We all need to commit to taking action, for the sake of our communities and the future of our businesses."

The "Health Equity: Make it Your Business" campaign includes seven animated videos that discuss factors related to health inequities. The videos offer viewers a unique perspective on:

  • The difference between equity and equality
  • How your health is impacted by race, income, gender identity and where you live
  • What health inequities cost Minnesota, in terms of lives and dollars lost

"Health depends on things like physical environment, health behaviors, access to care, and factors such as livable income, positive community connections, safe and affordable housing, high quality education, and access to healthy and affordable food," said Janelle Waldock, vice president of community health and health equity at Blue Cross. "Working together to address these factors is essential to improve health and to create stronger communities across the state."

The campaign offers concrete actions that business and health care leaders can take to #StartSeeingInequity, including:

  • Reviewing workplace culture and environment. For instance, do policies allow for time off for diverse religious practices? Is the environment welcoming for women, people of color and indigenous people, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and older employees?
  • Ensuring organizational policies are equitable. Consider updating policies to explicitly and affirmatively demonstrate the organization's commitment to embedding equity into business practices.
  • Looking at those around the decision-making table and considering if all voices are being represented. Diversity in people and ideas encourages a culture of success and better business performance.

More detail about these calls to action, along with information about Blue Cross' journey in advancing health equity, can be found by visiting BlueCrossMN.com/HealthEquity

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (bluecrossmn.com), with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today as a health company: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, taxable organization. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.

Contact: Katy Schultz, Katy.Schultz@BlueCrossMN.com, Office: (651) 662-8487, Cell: (612) 247-2873

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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota


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