Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield is providing $50,000 in financial support to domestic violence prevention organizations across upstate New York as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The health plan has committed to spending more than $162 million to help its members and communities fight the pandemic.
“With the numbers of people that continue to get sick, the growing unemployment rate, and an increase in anxiety and financial stress, this pandemic has created the perfect storm for an exacerbated domestic violence crisis,” stated Dr. Sudha Bakshi, Excellus BCBS medical director. “Helping to put an end to domestic violence and removing barriers for those in need is our main objective with this funding.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced violence from a partner in their lifetime— and the risks to victims are severe. Victims of domestic violence face more social isolation in general, even when there isn’t a widespread pandemic. Abusers have more tactics at their disposal when victims can’t easily get away from home.
With the multitude of entities closed to the public it is important for those in high risk situations to know that courts and many domestic violence organizations, phone hotlines, and shelters are available to help. Domestic violence organizations are also working to develop new strategies to support victims during the coronavirus pandemic, by offering hotline services through online chats or texting, in case victims cannot call with an abuser at home.
The organizations receiving funding from Excellus BCBS include:
- Family Justice Center, Buffalo, NY - https://www.fjcsafe.org/ and Pinnacle Community Services - https://www.pinnaclecs.org
- RISE, Endicott, NY- http://rise-ny.org/
- Vera House, Syracuse, NY - https://www.verahouse.org/about-us/staff-board
- YWCA Mohawk Valley, Utica, NY - https://www.ywcamv.org/who-we-are/board
- Resolve, Rochester, NY - https://resolve-roc.org and Willow- https://willowcenterny.org/
For the latest information on the health plan’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit https://www.chooseexcellus.com/covid19.
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.