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July 3, 2020

Columbia, S.C. — BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and South Carolina Medical Association (SCMA) are joining together in an effort to persuade the public to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 even as coronavirus cases are on the rise in South Carolina, hospital beds are filling and deaths are currently numbering in the high hundreds.

The “Slow the Spread” public service campaign will begin airing on T.V. and on social media in advance of the July 4th holiday weekend. In addition, a website, https://slowthespreadsc.com/, will be updated regularly with useful information sourced by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/.

According to Shawn Stinson, M.D., senior vice president of healthcare innovation and improvement at BlueCross, there is a confluence of factors contributing to increased numbers of cases and deaths in South Carolina caused by COVID-19. He believes people have become weary. They are dealing with the constraints of social isolation; they are reeling from the pressures of an economic downturn and social unrest related to systemic racism; and, some people are skeptical of the seriousness of the disease. He said, “Many people are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. More fundamentally, these same people are not taking into consideration that their actions could profoundly affect others. We hope to change that mindset.

“Collectively, BlueCross, SCHA and SCMA came together because we want people to stay healthy. This is our second collaboration on a public health crisis. As we learned with our effort to reduce opioid prescriptions and increase communication, we have a unique voice, a unique responsibility and a unique opportunity to get information to the public. After all, so many people who will hear our messages are our members, and current or potential patients who have—or will have—experience with our medical community through their physicians and/or hospitals. We want them all to know that we care about them. Hopefully, we can remind them that by taking precautions they are demonstrating that they care about other people, too.”

In addition, the groups are also looking to support South Carolina-based physicians by providing free access to an online continuing medical education module with updates on the most current COVID-19 treatment information. This effort is being supported in part through K2P, a Maryland-based company dedicated to using digital technology to personalize on-demand learning that measurably improves clinical judgment, critical thinking and patient care. The company is donating nearly $1 million worth of online, COVID-specific educational material.


About BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., and operating in South Carolina for more than 70 years, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 20 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health programs and Medicare contracts, other insurance and employee benefits services, and a philanthropic foundation that funds programs to improve health care and access to health care for South Carolinians.


About the South Carolina Hospital Association

SCHA is a private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1921 to serve as the collective voice of South Carolina’s hospital community. Today it represents approximately 100 member hospitals and health systems and 500 personal members. Together, we are leading South Carolina to a better state of health. Learn more about SCHA at https://scha.org/.


About the South Carolina Medical Association

Founded in 1848, the SCMA is comprised of nearly 6,000 physicians and is the voice of the medical profession in South Carolina. Its purpose is to support the efforts of South Carolina physicians and to advocate for quality medical care and good health for the citizens of South Carolina.

 

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