Recently, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced plans to grant full paid leave of absence to employees with medical backgrounds wanting to volunteer their services in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Our employees quickly came forward – demonstrating their generosity and bravery in this time of crisis. Within hours of the announcement, several BCBSM employees had already volunteered their services to help COVID-19 patients. They may be assigned to help staff at TCF Center’s exhibition space that's been transformed into a 1,000-bed medical quarantine facility. “Blue Cross is incredibly grateful for those working the frontlines to manage this crisis and save people’s lives,” said President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp. “But we know that more resources and help are needed during this emergency. The compassionate medical volunteers from Blue Cross are playing a critical role, and we’re proud to support their work during this time of incredible need.”
Nicole King, team lead, Case Management, and Daniel J. Benz, physician consultant, Utilization Management, are two of 33 employees who signed up to volunteer so far. COVID-19 has hit close to home for King, who has loved ones that have contracted the virus. “Seeing personally how this pandemic has affected my family made me want to help others in a time where they are unsure of what the future brings,” she said. Prior to working at Blue Cross, King was a pharmacy technician and nurse for several years. She wants to offer her support to those in need of nursing care and to her fellow RNs working on the front line. “I truly appreciate Blue Cross for supporting my endeavors to return to the hospital setting. It shows that the company is truly willing to put its members’ needs first in all areas of care,” she said.
Benz, who has worked in outpatient primary care in Buffalo, NY and then in southeast Michigan, helped patients during another epidemic in the 1990s — HIV/AIDS. “Researchers did an excellent job with the HIV crisis, and I think their work will produce fruit even more quickly with this illness,” he said. Benz said COVID-19 has affected him personally, with friends in Buffalo and Ypsilanti contracting the virus. He is thankful to Blue Cross for supporting efforts to manage the pandemic and ease suffering. “I’m thankful they’re allowing me to volunteer and willing to make it paid volunteer work. That’s very generous,” he said. “This is my chance to serve God, country and neighbor.” Related:
- Coronavirus Outbreak: What You Need to Know
- Community Efforts Define Coronavirus Response in Michigan
- How to Be a Helper Right Now
Main image photo credit: Cunaplus_M.Faba