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Health Plan of San Mateo and Inland Empire Health Plan Already Working with Wider Circle to Drive COVID-19 Member Education and Inoculation Engagement

Redwood City, CA (April 29, 2021)Wider Circle, an innovative community health organization working with health plans and providers to connect neighbors for better health, today announced that it is extending its community outreach and engagement efforts to enhance COVID-19 vaccination enrollments in some of California’s most vulnerable communities. The initiative leverages Wider Circle’s unique framework for building and cultivating trusted relationships, meeting health plan members at a local level to drive health literacy and engagement, while also working to address social determinants of health, like food insecurity, in their neighborhoods.

California has been one of the states hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with the LA Times reporting that to date, one out of every 11 people in the state has tested positive for the virus. Yet, as vaccinations across the country are administered at increasingly accelerated rates, large inoculation disparities remain among minorities and particularly Latinos – with only 17% of doses administered being given to this population, which makes up 55% of all COVID-19 cases in the state. This discrepancy can be attributed, in part, to vaccine hesitancy, however a larger barrier remains. Many counties and providers are heavily relying on online technology to schedule appointments and many older and poorer residents lack email and SMS access.

Central to Wider Circle’s offering is a unique framework for building and cultivating trusted relationships through in-person meetings, telecommunications, or virtual group meetings. In the case of the organization’s vaccination enrollment efforts specifically, their team was able to identify ways to connect with these individuals in a way and language that was familiar to them. While health plan partners’ previous efforts to drive member engagement and vaccination enrollment relied heavily on automated calls, Wider Circle approached the effort with high-touch phone outreach from peers and trained specialists as well as small group calls that not only fostered a personal connection with the individual but also presented an opportunity to identify vaccination barriers like lack of transportation that this population faced. In the organization’s initial weeks of work, Wider Circle saw a 650% improvement in vaccination rates using their community outreach model vs. automatic calling.

“Wider Circle is thrilled at the opportunity to apply our proven, trusted model of engaging at-risk health plan members to address discrepancies in care and ensure under-represented populations are receiving the trusted, accurate information they need in order to get vaccinated for COVID-19 if they choose to do so,” said Moshe Pinto, CEO of Wider Circle. “This inoculation outreach and engagement initiative is a natural extension of our mission and it is our honor to help close this gap in health equity which remains prevalent in so many Californian neighborhoods today.”

Wider Circle’s Vaccination Enrollment Efforts with Health Plan Partners Is Already Underway

Wider Circle has already been contracted by California payers like Health Plan of San Mateo, a local community-based health plan which is known for collaborating with community partners on innovative pilots and programs to meet the needs of the underserved populations that it supports. Under the terms of the relationship Wider Circle will elevate the organization’s efforts to educate and engage their community about available vaccination options.

“Health Plan of San Mateo has been thrilled with the results of our work with Wider Circle as, in addition to generating a better response in terms of COVID-19 vaccination enrollment numbers, we are also seeing the organization bringing an element of trust and reliability to our member outreach efforts,” Maya Altman, CEO at Health Plan of San Mateo. “More specifically, our members are building a personal connection with the Wider Circle team and as such, they are more engaged and trusting of the vaccination information they receive.  As a result of their efforts, we have experienced a 650% vaccination enrollment increase when comparing their live member outreach with automated processes we often must rely on to deal with large numbers of members.”

Most recently Wider Circle joined forces with Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) to augment the health plan’s existing efforts to engage with members about vaccination enrollment options at scale.

“Collaborating with Wider Circle will allow us to leverage their unique peer-to-peer approach as a means to take bold steps forward, in supporting the optimal and vibrant care of our members,” said Jarrod McNaughton, CEO at IEHP. “Central to this effort will be increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates for our most vulnerable populations in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, who are impacted by the digital divide and may not have access to the resources needed to make informed decisions about their health during the pandemic.”

About Wider Circle

Wider Circle works with health plans nationally to deliver unique hyper-local care programs that connect neighbors for better health. Wider Circle’s trusted delivery network has been proven to drive resilience, improve member experience and engagement and reduce hospitalizations. Today, Wider Circle offers its innovative programs to more than 320 communities nationwide, including specialized COVID-19 support for vulnerable populations in isolation via virtual programming and peer-to-peer community support. To learn more, please visit www.widercircle.com.