This year marks the 10th anniversary of our Mission & Values In Action (MVIA) awards – Blue Shield of California's highest honor. These awards are presented annually to individuals and teams who champion innovative ideas and whose achievements create positive change in support of our mission and company values.
After a rigorous selection process from 40 nominations, including 21 teams, eight individuals, six customer success individuals, and five corporate citizenship individuals, we have announced our winners of the 2022 MVIA awards.
Individual Mission & Values in Action award winners
Gimi Martinez and Philip Ruehl
In 2022, Gimi Martinez spearheaded the New Provider Orientation (NPO) Attestation online website. The NPO attestation is a regulatory form required by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). The online training module saves the provider time from reading the entire Provider Manual and is a faster and easier way of communicating the necessary information. The portal allows for attestations to be completed online and facilitates the process of obtaining NPO attestations from our providers and medical groups. Gimi led NPO trainings to our Provider Relation representatives and providers. Gimi’s trainings were successful, and we were able to collect 350 NPO attestations the first month.
Phil played a pivotal role in the successful implementation of the value-based care strategy. His oversight of Blue Shield’s value-based platform has led to expanded capability to support new payment models, enhancements that enable providers to optimize their performance, and improved user experience. Beyond providing technical expertise, Phil manages relationships with third-party vendors and routinely engages directly with physicians and practice managers. He approaches his work with both an agile mindset and a cadre of tools aimed at optimizing workflow, solutioning problems, and getting work done faster while simultaneously keeping our members in mind.
Customer Success Mission & Values in Action award winners
Diana Tse and Jennifer Maloney
Diana’s internal partners and external clients would agree that she goes the extra mile in every task. She proactively reaches out to clients to demonstrate Blue Shield’s value and anticipates their needs. Diana’s work was instrumental in onboarding several large accounts in 2022. She also played an important role in the creation of the abortion travel benefit used for all our clients. Diana has a clear understanding of how her efforts not only impact our Core line of business, but Blue Shield as a whole.
As a quality assurance auditor and visible leader, Jennifer supported service excellence in many areas, such as updating desk-level procedures, supporting escalated members, and driving process and call efficiencies. In addition to providing a life-changing service experience for one of our members, she also led two very important service projects in 2022.
Corporate Citizenship Mission & Values award winner
Rhonda Skelton is a Shield Cares leader supporting Blue Shield customer service agents who want to engage their community through corporate citizenship efforts. Rhonda embraces their passion for the community and facilitates engagements with charities and community-based organizations. As a supervisor, she creates opportunities for agents and others to serve veterans, homeless populations, hospitalized children, institutionalized seniors, animals in shelters, and rescue groups. Through Rhonda’s organizing, Redding (Rhonda’s home base) and communities across California value Blue Shield as a great neighbor.
Rhonda received a $5,000 award that she donated to Upper Room Dining Hall, a nonprofit organization that provides meals and services to members of the community who are living in poverty. In addition to providing meals, the nonprofit also provides wound care, free laundry, pet care, personal care, navigation services, and legal aid.
Team Mission & Values in Action award winners
Eargo Hearing, Inc. Special Investigation Team
Blue Shield of California’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) led an extensive investigation of Eargo Hearing, Inc., a California provider that targeted the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and dispensed medically unnecessary hearing aids. In 2022, Blue Shield’s investigation resulted in a $34.3 million settlement between Eargo and the Department of Justice.
This team piloted a solution to reverse the trend among Medi-Cal members to delay or forego preventive screenings. The pilot averaged a 60 percent success rate in completing scheduled screenings and helped Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan go from 33rd percentile to nearly 75th percentile for mammography completion in Los Angeles. The team set the record for the highest number of mammography (35) and well-child exams (40) completed in a single day by any Promise team or provider. More than 66 percent of members who completed mammography through the pilot were historically low or noncompliant in preventive screenings.
Medi-Cal Procurement Team
After two years of prepping and planning, California’s DHCS launched the first-ever statewide Medi-Cal procurement for commercial managed care plans (MCPs). DHCS worked for two years on a comprehensive overhaul of the Medi-Cal program contract requirements for MCPs, and in February of 2022, launched the largest bid in the history of the Medicaid program; providing services to more than 12 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries in 21 counties across the state. A core team of dedicated employees from Blue Shield Promise and Blue Shield of California worked tirelessly over 2022 to put together a competitive and compelling bid to the state.
When a decision came out that Blue Shield Promise was not awarded a county, that group did not give up, but focused their energy on fighting for what we believed was right for Californians. Through a comprehensive communication and engagement plan and a thorough appeal process, Blue Shield Promise won back the confidence of the state and was awarded a 2024 contract in San Diego County. Throughout 2022, this team demonstrated our values of being human, honest, and courageous.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, providers grappled with delivering care safely, leading to a 175-fold increase in telehealth usage. Blue Shield responded by designing Virtual Blue, a virtual-first health plan product offering advanced primary care, behavioral health, and specialty care through a seamless technology and care delivery solution. Led by the Product and Virtual Care teams, 150+ individuals across 19 departments delivered Virtual Blue, the only virtual-first product in the California market to integrate relationship-driven care that is personalized and coordinated, with a brick-and-mortar preferred provider organization network. Originally designed for regulatory approval only for fully insured preferred provider organization business, this team pivoted in the third quarter of 2022, modifying Virtual Blue for Blue Shield’s self-insured employee base, and successfully going live on January 1, 2023, with approximately 400 employees and 800 members.
If you’d like to be a part of a company that recognizes its employees and teams for upholding their mission and values, we’d love to hear from you. Check out our open career opportunities and apply for your next role!