BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and South Carolina Medical Association (SCMA) are joining together in an effort to persuade the public to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 even as coronavirus cases are on the rise in South Carolina, hospital beds are filling and deaths are currently numbering in the high hundreds.
The “Slow the Spread” public service campaign will begin airing on T.V. and on social media in advance of the July 4th holiday weekend. In addition, a website, https://slowthespreadsc.com/ , will be updated regularly with useful information sourced by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/.
According to Shawn Stinson, M.D., senior vice president of healthcare innovation and improvement at BlueCross, there is a confluence of factors contributing to increased numbers of cases and deaths in South Carolina caused by COVID-19. He believes people have become weary. They are dealing with the constraints of social isolation; they are reeling from the pressures of an economic downturn and social unrest related to systemic racism; and, some people are skeptical of the seriousness of the disease. He said, “Many people are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. More fundamentally, these same people are not taking into consideration that their actions could profoundly affect others. We hope to change that mindset.
“Collectively, BlueCross, SCHA and SCMA came together because we want people to stay healthy. This is our second collaboration on a public health crisis. As we learned with our effort to reduce opioid prescriptions and increase communication, we have a unique voice, a unique responsibility and a unique opportunity to get information to the public. After all, so many people who will hear our messages are our members, and current or potential patients who have—or will have—experience with our medical community through their physicians and/or hospitals. We want them all to know that we care about them. Hopefully, we can remind them that by taking precautions they are demonstrating that they care about other people, too.”
In addition, the groups are also looking to support South Carolina-based physicians by providing free access to an online continuing medical education module with updates on the most current COVID-19 treatment information. This effort is being supported in part through K2P, a Maryland-based company dedicated to using digital technology to personalize on-demand learning that measurably improves clinical judgment, critical thinking and patient care. The company is donating nearly $1 million worth of online, COVID-specific educational material.