Blue Sky's COVID-19 Response
OUR AGENCY’S MANTRA: STAY AHEAD OF WHAT’S NEXT
Early in February 2020, Blue Sky started the conversation to determine how to best prepare and respond to the impending COVID-19 outbreak in our country. The novel coronavirus, which was then just beginning to spread throughout the world, became an immediate threat to our most vulnerable population of Medicaid members living in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Blue Sky believes it is our role and responsibility during these pandemic times to prioritize two things: 1.) The health and well-being of our Medicaid members and case management contractors; 2.) To play a constructive role in supporting local health officials, as they work to contain the virus. Blue Sky will continue to make decisions with vigilance and courage, while being informed by the latest science-based information and guided by its Mission and Values.
EARLY ACTIONS TO PROTECT MEDICAID MEMBERS & CASE MANAGERS
In March 2020, Blue Sky’s contracted case managers began discussions with the participants to practice good hygiene, staying home when feeling sick, obtaining a stock of food and medications where appropriate, and introduced the idea of Tele-Visits becoming a possibility of the future.
USE OF CDC PROTOCOLS & FOLLOWING GOV. BESHEAR’S LEAD
As the virus spread, closures began and state mandates changed rapidly in March and April 2020. Blue Sky developed a COVID-19 Guide for contractors to stay informed about best practices to support “contactless” case management, using Tele-Visits and virtual, person-centered teaming. The health and safety of the participants, as well as its contractors, remained at the center of all its decision making.
USE OF TECHNOLOGY TO MEET FACE-TO-FACE CHALLENGES
During these subsequent months of Tele-Visits and virtual person-centered teaming, case managers continue to emphasize the importance of washing hands frequently, not touching the face with hands, coughing into elbow/sleeves, staying home, and drinking plenty of water. Other discussions included: maintaining social distance of at least six feet. The case managers and Medicaid members adapted to calls and new approaches to visits, using tele-conferencing capabilities: Go-To-Meeting, Zoom, and Google Meet.
Blue Sky is hopeful with news there will be enough coronavirus vaccines for every American by the end of May 2021, which is two months earlier than we expected. COVID-19 vaccines provide high protection, but it's important to keep in mind that you can experience certain mild side effects when applied. Don't worry, these side effects are normal and should be gone in a few days. The Covid-19 precaution steps to minimize exposure that contractors and Medicaid members practiced for over the last year, when coupled with the vaccination, are the only ways we will be able to get back to a pre-pandemic way of life. Therefore, Blue Sky “strongly encourages” everyone on a voluntary basis to get the coronavirus vaccination. It is our intent that when vaccinated it will help Blue Sky contractors add another layer of protection to provide a safer, social services environment for clients and families.
HAND SANITIZER & CLOTH FACE MASKS
Blue Sky purchased gallons of hand sanitizer and hundreds of face masks to support its Medicaid members. In May 2020, case management contractors discussed with participants how to properly wear face masks and determined what participants may have sensitivities to consider for wear at home or in public, as necessary.
BLUE SKY GAME NIGHTS
Keeping safe, while celebrating to have fun together, are crucial aspects of our agency. And, so in April 2020, there was the start of “Blue Sky Game Nights,” which debuted with “Play Bingo.” Gaming opportunities blossomed to four game nights a month (i.e., the Second and Last Tuesday(s) and Saturday(s) at 6 pm). Game nights feature other games, as follows: Bingo Night, Trivia, Pictionary, Funglish, Family Feud, and Dance Party. Many of the game questions are used to reinforce the best practices required to minimize the risk of Covid-19 to participants and family members.