Loepp: Be Focused About Caring for Your Mental Health

Daniel J. Loepp

| 3 min read

Daniel J. Loepp is President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Mr. Loepp has directed sweeping initiatives and innovations that have led to a historic transformation of BCBSM and health care in Michigan. He played a major role in modernizing the state’s health care delivery system in a process that led to enactment of new laws that transformed BCBSM to become a nonprofit mutual insurance company in January 2014. Mr. Loepp has led BCBSM initiatives to improve health care quality and slow cost increases, saving nearly $1.5 billion through several programs that have garnered national attention and served as models implemented across the country. Under his leadership, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is helping to revitalize and strengthen Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing. In 2011 and 2012, Blue Cross moved 3,000 BCBSM employees into downtown Detroit and the company is one of the largest employers in the city’s Central Business District. In Lansing, BCBSM subsidiary AF Group transformed a long abandoned power plant into a national headquarters. Mr. Loepp has stood by a commitment that BCBSM should be a driving force for good in Michigan’s core cities. It is reflected in BCBSM’s workforce diversity and inclusion efforts, supplier partnerships and community initiatives. In his tenure, BCBSM has been named Corporation of the Year in Finance and Insurance Services nine times by the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council. The company has also been named one of America’s Top Organizations for Multi-Cultural Business Opportunities by DiversityBusiness.com and ranked five consecutive years as one of the top 10 Regional Companies for diversity by DiversityInc magazine, including being ranked No. 1 for consecutive years in 2015 and 2016. Mr. Loepp was honored as a 2016 recipient of the Edward N. McNamara Goodfellow of the Year Award. He was selected as Michiganian of the Year by The Detroit News in 2013. Mr. Loepp joined Blue Cross in 2000. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, he served as board chair of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), an organization that includes all 36 Blue Cross plans and provides health coverage to more than 106 million Americans.

Man with eyes closed
Amid this worldwide coronavirus pandemic, each of us faces unique challenges to our mental health and well-being. Some people are living alone, facing a deep sense of loneliness being quarantined apart from loved ones, church families, communities and friends. Others are suddenly navigating a chaotic world with our children at home all day, trying to balance home-schooling with parenting duties, housework and a full-time job. Others are facing the loss of their job, their business, their employees while still others are devastated by the loss of a loved one due to complications from COVID-19 -- and unable to grieve with family. The immediate and numerous difficulties we’re all facing are nothing like our world has seen, causing some to resort to an auto-pilot existence, ticking off the many tasks just to get through each day, while the anxiety and stress mount. It’s understandable. Yet we must find ways to prioritize for our mental health and well-being. May is Mental Health Awareness Month – an important reminder to find ways to care for your mental health, especially during this trying time. In a normal year, about one-fourth of all Americans experience a behavioral health condition, while over a lifetime, about fifty percent will meet that criteria. People from all backgrounds suffer from mental illness, with depression and anxiety being the most common conditions. And importantly, mental well-being and physical health are both important to overall health. Undoubtedly, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis can take a serious toll, which is why I want to share some of the programs and resources available to help our members, employees and the public cope during this unique time. For our members, we’re expanding telemedicine and waiving copays for behavioral health services. Through Blue Cross Online Visits, members have 24-7 access to U.S. board-certified doctors – and they can make an appointment to see a psychiatrist. Help is just a phone call away if you're feeling anxious or need support, which is why we’ve created a 24/7 COVID-19 Crisis Hotline (1-833-848-1764) and are reminding members about access to our 24-hour nurse’s line. And to assist those with substance use disorders, telehealth programs with behavioral health providers have been expanded for some patients to undergo detoxification and treatment at home. We’re supporting providers and primary care doctors, with funding to expand telemedicine practices. We’ve also extended prior authorization limits and enhanced delivery options for mail order medications, as well as other measures, to ensure people have easy access to medications they need. Addressing the impact COVID-19 is having on the behavioral health of our members and community is an immediate priority for Blue Cross during this unprecedented time. If you or a loved one are struggling, know that you are not alone. Help is available. I encourage you to prioritize and care for your mental health, which can also help you navigate the challenges of this crisis and ensure better overall health. And if a loved one is suffering, share these resources with them so they can get the care they need, too. We are all in this together, and we will get through it by helping each other. Photo Credit: electravk

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