With more than 102,000 cases, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our daily lives in Maryland. While staying at home and social distancing contributed positively to community efforts to flatten the curve, it has created a challenge for many individuals who live alone, struggle to find meals, or simply get their medications.

These challenges can be more prominent with individuals who are at high-risk for developing complications if they contract the virus, such as the elderly population and those suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes.

At Amerigroup, we understand the need for additional care to help those struggling to adjust to life’s unprecedented times. So our teams quickly mobilized, and listened to the needs of our members. In just two weeks, we developed the Member Check Outreach Program, an initiative that expands on our commitment to reaching and helping our members – especially during this difficult time – and is rooted in our compassion for those we serve.

The premise is simple, but the impact is profound. Associates engaged in this program call consumers in Amerigroup’s Medicaid health plans to check-in and simply see how they are doing. While having this conversation, associates also help address loneliness and food insecurity and ensure individuals have access to health services like telemedicine and can get their prescription medications refilled. We have prioritized the call list so high-risk individuals—those who live in regions most affected by COVID-19 as well as those who are immunosuppressed, persons with chronic conditions, and members at risk for loneliness—are the first to be called.

Amerigroup associates have made calls to more than 12,500 of our members, connecting so many to needed services.

Many of the members we’ve connected with live alone and have chosen to stay at home due to COVID-19. This has made it more difficult for them to stock their fridge, so we worked to set them up with home-delivered meals covered by their health insurance plan or available through community-based organizations to ensure they have the food they need.

Associates making these calls have also benefited. One associate shared, “It has been very impactful and uplifting for me hearing people’s positive reactions to what Amerigroup is doing, and being able to help people during a time that is uncertain and challenging for everyone. I am grateful to be part of an organization that can quickly create and implement a program like this to improve our consumers’ lives.”

This COVID-19 situation will most likely continue to be with us for a while. Because of this, members may face an increasing number of challenges as they continue to practice social distancing and stay at home for the sake of their health and safety. As this happens, we will continue to be here for them and our community through the Member Check-In Outreach Program as well as our other programs designed to help consumers lead healthier lives.

Written by Vincent Ancona, who is the Medicaid Plan President for Amerigroup Maryland.