BCBS of Massachusetts CEO: Traditional diversity measures are important, but only a place to start

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Andrew Dreyfus is the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which is one of 17 payers named to the 2021 Disability Equality Index's best places to work for disability inclusion.

The company also earned a perfect score of 100 on the 2021 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality.

Mr. Dreyfus told Becker's July 14 he believes that being a diverse and inclusive organization has been a determining factor in BCBSMA achieving its business goals.

"When you go on this journey, you realize that traditional measures of diversity, which are often about representation, are very important and it's often a place to start, but it's only a place to start," he said. "Traditionally, some diversity efforts in companies are kind of run off to the sides, and they're seen as kind of an adjunct to corporate giving or to community work. And we've seen it as something that is core to our business."

The company has made a concerted effort to support businesses that are owned and operated by people of color, women and LGBTQ members, while continuing to identify areas for improvement within the organization.

"When we work with consulting companies, whether it's a law firm or a business consulting firm or an investment adviser, we ask that they put diverse consultants on the team that work with our plan. And so it just becomes part of the DNA of the organization," he said.

Another area of focus for the payer that predates the pandemic is mental healthcare, a field where the supply of physicians doesn't meet the demand, Mr. Dreyfus said.  BCBSMA will continue to waive cost-sharing fees for mental health services as the pandemic wanes, while offering financial incentives to physicians to incorporate behavioral healthcare into primary care for children and adults.

"Some health plans carve out mental health by hiring an outside company to manage its behavioral health services, and we do the exact opposite. We carve it in, meaning that we have psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and addiction specialists on our team working side by side with medical experts and clinicians in the community to ensure that our members get  the mental healthcare they need," he said. "It's trying to kind of mainstream mental healthcare into the work of the healthcare system, as opposed to putting it on the side. When it's on the side, it just doesn't get the attention it needs."

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