Blue Shield of California’s Wellvolution Program Now Offers Headspace App to Help Members Reduce Stress and Increase Resilience
Posted: October 26, 2021
Blue Shield expands Wellvolution to include behavioral health support with science-backed mindfulness and meditation app at no additional cost for eligible members
Blue Shield of California today announced that mindfulness and meditation app Headspace is now available to its members through the nonprofit health plan’s Wellvolution program.
Headspace offers hundreds of tools and more than 1,000 exercises to reduce stress and improve one’s mental wellbeing. The app joins the extensive resources offered on Blue Shield’s Wellvolution, a digitally based lifestyle medicine and health platform provided in collaboration with Solera Health that can be personalized to each member’s individual health needs and preferences.
The addition of Headspace expands Wellvolution to now include behavioral health support. Blue Shield members already enjoying Wellvolution’s lifestyle medicine service can now add Headspace to their support system with no additional cost to them. Blue Shield of California continues to build its behavioral health program for its members and the community that now includes expanded telehealth options and BlueSky, the health plan’s multi-year commitment to support youth mental health throughout the state.
“There’s no question that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has elevated stress levels for everyone,” said Bryce Williams, vice president, Mind Body Medicine at Blue Shield of California. “With Headspace, our members receive a scientifically validated, clinically effective solution to improve their mental health and wellbeing.”
Headspace research has demonstrated that the app’s guided meditations can reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and increase focus, self-esteem, and resilience. The company has found:
· 10 days of Headspace utilization resulted in 14% decrease in stress.
· 8 weeks of using Headspace resulted in a 31% decrease in anxiety symptoms and 46% decrease in depressive symptoms.
Almost two years after it began, the pandemic continues to affect the lives of many Americans and stress remains present and problematic. According to the American Psychological Association, 78% of adults say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their life and 67% say they have experienced increased stress over the course of the pandemic.
“There has been a huge spike in the need for mental health support in the past few years and Headspace has been successful in helping people stress less, be more resilient, and get a better night's sleep,” said Sarah Romotsky, director, Healthcare Partnerships Solutions at Headspace."Through this valuable collaboration with Blue Shield, we hope to make mindfulness easy and accessible for all."
Wellvolution is Blue Shield’s digitally based lifestyle medicine and health platform that can be personalized for individual health needs and preferences. Created in collaboration with Solera Health, Wellvolution provides members guided on-demand access to a tailored network of clinically proven apps using lifestyle to prevent, treat, and even reverse disease. It is available to most Blue Shield members with their benefit plan at no additional cost and is an example of how the nonprofit health plan is reimagining health for individuals, families, and communities.
“We are excited to continue our collaboration with such a forward-thinking health plan like Blue Shield of California to help meet the timely mental health needs of their members through offering our behavioral health network,” said Mary Langowski, CEO, Solera Health. “There is a huge demand and need for these services, and we are happy to work together, with our partner Headspace, to make it easier for consumers to access mindfulness and mental wellbeing programs.”
For more information about mental health resources through Blue Shield’s Wellvolution platform, go towellvolution.com/mentalhealth.
About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.5 million members, over 7,500 employees and more than $21 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid, and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $150 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation in the last four years to have an impact on California communities.
For more news about Blue Shield of California, please visit news.blueshieldca.com.
Headspace was created with one mission in mind: to improve the health and happiness of the world. Reaching 70 million users in 190 countries, Headspace was one of the first meditation apps in the world and remains a leader in mindfulness and mental training. Headspace is committed to advancing the field of mindfulness through clinically validated research, with one of the largest research pipelines of any digital health and wellness company. Headspace operates a B2B business (Headspace for Work) to offer its mindfulness products and services to more than 2,200 companies, such as Starbucks, Adobe, Hyatt, and Unilever, to help them build healthier, more productive cultures and higher performing organizations. Headspace supports government entities like New York State and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) to offer digital mental health tools. Headspace partners with many of the world’s most-recognizable brands, including Apple, Sesame Street, Spotify, Amazon, and Nike as well as Netflix for a three part mindfulness series that premiered in 2021. Headspace has been recognized as TIME100’s Most Influential Companies of 2021, Fast Company’s 10 most innovative social good companies of 2021 and World’s Most Innovative Companies. Other accolades include Apple’s Best of 2018, Samsung's Best of 2019 and one of CB Insights’ top digital health companies, along with being selected for seven Webby Awards in podcasts, health and fitness. For more information, please visit us at www.headspace.com, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Solera Healthis committed to changing lives by guiding people seamlessly to better health solutions, while providing payers and employers the tools to manage providers and outcomes across conditions. Solera’s platform provides a marketplace of curated networks of digital and community point solutions focused on intensive, evidence-based lifestyle, behavioral and social interventions to impact the most prevalent and costly chronic conditions. Solera strategically matches consumers to their best-fit solution and helps keep them engaged for successful health outcomes.
Dr. Janine Bera | Special to California Black Media
Nearly a century ago, a Norman Rockwell painting titled “Doctor and Doll” was published on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, a popular American cultural magazine.
It depicted an older gentleman wearing a suit, doctor bag at his feet, pressing a stethoscope to the chest of a little girl’s toy doll. A cluttered desk and worn chair sit atop a forgettable rug. It’s an old image of health care in America. A country doctor caring for his neighbors via a “house call.”
Of course, we know it was not that simple. Healthcare was rudimentary compared to today’s standards – that is if you had access to care at all. Average life expectancy reflected that. If you were born White in 1929 you would be lucky to reach your 60s. If you were Black, you weren’t likely to reach your 50s.
While things are far from perfect, at least they have improved. Healthy lifestyles and modern medicine have made living into your 80s commonplace.
Significant racial disparities remain, but the gap is closing. And the number of people with health coverage has never been higher. But while Medi-Cal (the state sponsored coverage for people who have low-incomes) now covers nearly 14 million people, many still lack appropriate access to care.
Access to care is a complex issue, but sometimes it’s as simple as geography. Taking an hours long bus ride across town to visit the doctor isn’t practical for most people. Add lost wages, a lack of childcare, and the fact that you don’t feel good, and it’s downright impossible.
Solutions available in employer-based health insurance for years, like virtual care through an app or over the telephone, haven’t been an option for people on Medi-Cal. Until the pandemic. When the federal and state governments declared emergency last Spring, Federally Qualified Health Centers like WellSpace Health were able to provide care virtually via telephone and video, a practice that had been prohibited previously.
Virtual care is wildly successful. Over the past two weeks, 5,015 patients accessed care remotely rather than visiting our health centers. Half of primary care visits and 85 % of behavioral health visits were virtual. According to a statewide survey of
community health centers, which serve 1 in 5 Californians, there has been a 75 % decrease in no-show rates since the implementation of telehealth. A study conducted by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network reported a significant number of patients from communities of color engaging in telehealth and having a high level of patient satisfaction.
As the Chief Medical Officer for one of our region’s largest healthcare providers, and an internal medicine doctor, it makes sense. Technology has given us the ability to conduct a modern day “house call.” We can go to the patient and break down significant barriers to care. If the patient requires a hands-on assessment or treatment, we can take that step. But frequently, especially in behavioral health, hands-on care is not necessary.
Our ability to provide virtual care under the emergency order will expire soon. Permanent authorization will require action by the legislature and the governor through the budget process. Assembly Bill (AB) 32 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D- Winters) provides the template for action.
In this budget cycle, the Governor must take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to address inequality in our health care delivery system. By adopting the provisions of AB 32 into the FY21-22 final budget, it will guarantee all Medi-Cal beneficiaries – regardless of where they seek care – can use all telehealth modalities, including telephonic care, indefinitely.
Telehealth may not make for a good Norman Rockwell painting, but it does make for good medicine. It’s an improvement, a step forward that helps us get healthier and close gaps in care. It even brings back the house call.
Dr. Janine Bera is the Chief Medical Officer for WellSpace Health and Chair of the California Primary Care Association Telehealth Clinical Task Force.