Charleston, W.Va.: The West Virginia Association of Health Plans (WVAHP) announced progress in the COVID-19 vaccination efforts conducted by its managed care organization (MCO) members, which have contributed to increased vaccination rates amongst Medicaid members in West Virginia. MCOs manage the healthcare benefits of West Virginia Medicaid members.
At the beginning of summer, MCOs stepped up outreach and incentive efforts to encourage their Medicaid members to take advantage of COVID-19 vaccines. The effort was in concert with Governor Jim Justice’s overall outreach campaign. As a result of the focused outreach, over 17,000 additional Medicaid members have been vaccinated since the end of May 2021 – representing a 33% increase from the same time-period.
“I could not be more proud of the work that’s been done this summer by the MCOs within the West Virginia Association of Health Plans to help more West Virginians in the Medicaid program choose to get vaccinated,” said West Virginia Governor Jim Justice. “We know the more people we have vaccinated, the less people will die, and yet, some people are still hesitating to get this important layer of protection. But thanks to the outreach efforts of the great people in our MCOs – educating their members about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines and making them more accessible than ever – it’s making a real difference. This work isn’t just important; it’s truly lifesaving.”
“The vaccination effort of the MCOs is a prime example of how private-public partnerships are supposed to work,” said Ben Beakes, executive director of the WVAHP. “When the governor and the Department of Health and Human Services identified the need to address the vaccination rates of the Medicaid program, we were able to leverage our resources and care manager network to significantly boost the direct outreach to Medicaid members. We still have more work ahead of us, but early data shows that these efforts are making a difference.”
Included in those efforts are the following:
· MCOs have enhanced their communication with members through text messages, emails, and phone calls reminding them to get vaccinated and what locations are available.
· Direct outreach to those that have been COVID tested.
· Creating incentive programs for members who are fully vaccinated.
· Partnering with local clinics to assist with COVID vaccine events.
· Answering questions about vaccination safety and effectiveness for Medicaid members.
About WVAHP:The WVAHP is a trade association comprised of West Virginia’s Managed Care Organizations, including Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, The Health Plan, and Unicare Health Plan of West Virginia. The WVAHP was formed in 2016 with the goal to provide assistance to the state of West Virginia in its transition to managed care Medicaid delivery, reduce costs of administering West Virginia’s Medicaid system and improve the health of West Virginia’s Medicaid recipients.