Back to Back To Campus
Despite the significant progress over the last 6 months, the U.S seems to be re-tracing the hard fought gains against the pandemic. What was once considered a late summer / early fall return to campus, has just become alot more complex as we deal with the delta variant, ongoing policy debates, and new vaccine mandates. This has raised concerns again from our clients regarding the layered strategies they must consider in responding to different scenarios to ensure the optimal health and the safety of their employees.
This felt like the right time to once again bring forward the framework we used last year to help employers work through the myriad complexities of managing their employee’s health. During the heat of the pandemic last year, we described our evolving approaches to supporting our clients in multiple blog posts. It’s fascinating to read these again in July 2021—they literally track the growing sense of urgency, improvisation, and adaptations we deployed to overcame the various challenges encountered last year:
- A Primer on Pandemic Primary Care
- Employer Dilemma – Framework for Returning Back to Work [ Safely ]
- Primary Health is a Health Monitoring Service
- Proof of Immunity: Dystopian or Deliverance?
Now—16 months in—with new vaccines created, more than 50% of the population vaccinated, and the country trying to return to “normal” we are going to have to address head the challenge of large numbers of employees gathering. This thrusts the human resource leader both into the spotlight as well as the hotseat to become a decisive public health official and a (resigned) purveyor of population health for their own “mini municipality”.
Crossover’s new capabilities heading into this New Stage1 of the pandemic
Our role in this effort will continue to be a trusted advisor based on our clinical expertise, broad experience and enhanced capabilities. Crossover adapted well to the first season of the pandemic through a quick transition to virtual care delivery, the acceleration of our population health focus, and value based financial model allowed us to get paid for actively monitoring the health of the population remotely. Last December we announced our Back to Campus framework, which has since been updated, not only because of evolving conditions, but also due to our greatly expanded capabilities:
- We are now licensed and able to practice in all 50 states.
- We have launched a fully re-envisioned platform to seamlessly manage a mix of in-person and online care.
- We built our proprietary Crossover Passport to enable members to voluntarily report their vaccination status, monitor their health status, benefit from in-app home testing capabilities and direct connectivity to care teams, and, a vaccine verification service.
- Finally, we have developed even more robust clinical and engagement content, programs, and education materials under our Be Well banner (more to come on this shortly!).
In sum, we are better prepared and more capable than ever to help each employer respond to another challenging flu season that will include mixed COVID variants as well as highly variable local, state, and federal recommendations and responses.
Back to Campus Framework
Because of what lies ahead, we have re-evaluated how we will help each client implement a custom-tailored framework that will 1) advise, 2) prevent, 3) screen, 4) test, and 5) treat their employees. Let’s detail out the capabilities of our Back to Campus framework:
- ADVISE (Chief Medical Officer as a Service): We have an incredibly gifted Chief Medical Officer in Stephen Ezeji-Okoye, MD. His clinical acumen and experience are highly valued, but more important is his creative “systems thinking” which enables him to grasp the big strategic picture while also understanding the tactical execution details. Most employers do not have access to such expertise, so we have developed a mechanism to provide it as an “advisory service” to the employers who join the Crossover network. This is one of the ways in which we support our clients as they manage the health of large populations—direct consultation complemented by a combination of contact with our regional directors along with webinars, Q&A sessions, and specific implementation guidance.
- PREVENT: Widespread efforts to prevent the spread of COVID on employer campuses helps to create an environment in which our members are not only educated on how to stay well, but on how to keep their colleagues healthy, too. The message that a good colleague is one who stays home when they are sick is core to prevention. Vaccination is strongly encouraged (unfortunately, this has become highly politicized so every employer will have to have an approach to this!). Prevention is an ongoing, never-ending, core part of our care strategy. We’ve seen that companies that engage their employees early and often in these conversations have the most success implementing well reasoned and appropriate strategies.
- SCREEN: Each work campus should have an effective way of helping large numbers of employees gather safely on a daily basis. Our Crossover Passport, with its simple COVID risk assessment tools, enables self-reported screening so employees can determine appropriateness to come onto campus. The tool can also be used as a gating function—after screening, each person either gains access to the campus, or if they do not pass they’re redirected to our on-campus or online resources (like triage “Flu Clinics”) for further clinical evaluation.
- TEST: COVID has driven incredible advances in testing options for both in-home and on-campus real time testing. Multiple different types of testing categories have emerged (self-administered tests, high-volume antigen testing, and more precise PCR tests). The different test “profiles” (variable characteristics like cost, efficacy, convenience, sensitivity, specificity, time, location, device, etc.) give employers the opportunity to custom design approaches that fit what they are trying to accomplish, aided by our counsel on best practices. Testing remains an incredibly active and evolving area of innovation.
- TREAT (COVID Care): The rise of new variants means that COVID is likely to remain in circulation and will continue to be a threat to unvaccinated individuals through the remainder of 2021 and beyond. Once someone tests positive, our care guidelines clearly outline what to do next. COVID severity has a broad range (including factors such as duration, intensity, impact on daily living, etc.), so one of the most effective interventions for members is to isolate but remain connected to their personal care team. This ensures basic essentials are available, care teams are apprised of any concerning signs and symptoms of illness progression, and each member is followed through the various phases of recovery.
Back to. . . Back to Campus
This fall 2 employers will continue to be challenged to improvise, adapt and overcome. While Crossover Health primarily engages in and is focused on improving the health and wellbeing of employee member populations, we are equally effective as a trusted advisor for our employer clients in supporting large health initiatives, such as the development of Back to Campus strategies. As always, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our clients and remain ready to go toe to toe with whatever COVID brings next.
We look forward to guiding our employer clients and their valued employee members back to campus, back to life, and back to building a brighter future.
1. I initially had “Crossover Post Pandemic” but I don’t think we will truly be “post” for another 12-18 months. I think the challenges this fall with the regular flu superimposed on COVID concerns, emerging variants, and related mutations, along with ongoing civil and social discourse around the many issues being thrust into the public square will ensure that the pandemic is far from over. It will certainly enter a new stage though—perhaps best described as “post vaccine” but “intra-pandemic”.
2. I get the sense that we will be measuring this unique time in history by marking out the various flu seasons, as in, “Yeah, 19-20 was the first year, but 21-22 was the real deal with all the new variants.” Will certainly be an interesting period to tell the grandkids about someday.