Objective.—Explore the impact of proactive outreach to a health plan population during COVID-19 pandemic in New Mexico.
Background.—By March 2020, the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was a global pandemic, circulating in more than 114 countries. As more information about virus transmission, symptoms, and comorbidities were reported over time, recommendations for reducing the spread of the virus within communities was provided by leading health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Methods.—Criteria were developed to identify health plan members most at risk for virus complications. Once members were identified, a health plan representative contacted each member to inquire about member needs, questions, and provide them with resources. Members were then tracked for COVID-19 testing results and vaccination status.
Results.—Overall, 50,000+ members received an outreach call (during 8-month timeframe), and 26,000 calls were tracked for member outcomes. Over 50% of the outreach calls were answered by the health plan member. Of the members who were called, 1186 (4.4%) tested positive for COVID-19. Health plan members that could not be reached represented 55% of the positive cases. A chi-square test of the two populations (reached vs unable to reach) showed a significant difference in COVID-19 positive test results (N = 26,663, X2(1) = 16.33, P<0.01).
Conclusions.—Community outreach was related to lower rates of COVID-19. Community connection is important, especially in tumultuous times, and proactive outreach to the community provides an opportunity for information sharing and community bonding.