Walking the Diversity Talk: What “Serving Our Diverse Communities” Really Means

Our mission at Tufts Health Plan is to improve the health and wellness of the diverse communities we serve

diverse crowd

But to do that, we need an in-depth understanding of how different people access and use healthcare so we can ensure they get the best possible care.

As one of the few carriers in the region offering the full spectrum of plan types in the marketplace—commercial, individual, Medicare and Medicaid—we serve an extremely broad and varied member base. We’re constantly on the lookout for the most effective ways to engage different types of members within that base, and leverage our experience, data, and the expertise of our providers to hone our programs and approaches.

Tufts Health Plan also has a robust Business Diversity program, which works with senior leadership on workforce, marketplace and community initiatives to meet the needs of our members, including ethnic minorities; women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ); people with disabilities; and veterans.

We have a robust Business Diversity program, which works with senior leadership on workforce, marketplace and community initiatives to meet the needs of our members

But our commitment to diversity is about more than improving health outcomes. By helping to ensure that all of our members have access to high quality health care, we can help prevent medical problems before they start, reducing hospitalizations, emergency room visits and complications that increase the cost of care. When we reach more people, everybody benefits.

Here are just a few of the ways we’re working to support and engage our diverse membership:

  • Improving the Multicultural Member Experience. The demographics of our region are changing rapidly, and it’s our job to keep up. Through our Multicultural Service Program, we’re training bilingual staff and using innovative, technology-based solutions to expand language and cultural support for members whose first language isn’t English, or who may be new to the region. We also collaborate closely with providers who have expertise in seeing diverse patients and understand the nuances of what different communities need.
  • In-Person Visits. It’s not enough just to offer affordable health coverage. We put our representatives in the communities where our members live and work for face-to-face conversations, assistance and outreach in the community’s native language, so members who need health care understand how, when and where to get it.
  • Addressing Disparities in Health Care. There are significant disparities between different groups when it comes to health and access to health care. Tufts Health Plan is using analytic solutions to address disparities based on race, ethnicity, language and social determinants, and collaborating with employers and providers to promote health equity initiatives.
  • Meeting the needs of our LGBTQ members. People who are LGBTQ regularly experience discrimination and stigma when seeking healthcare. We believe it’s important to provide the care that’s essential for our LGBTQ members, including gender affirming surgery, hormone therapy, and behavioral health services related to a member’s gender identity.
  • Promoting healthy pregnancies. Pregnancy and birth pose extra risk for underserved women or women with complicated health issues. For our members in Worcester County who are beneficiaries of MassHealth, we offer Doula By My Side, designed to promote healthier pregnancies to full-term birth, decrease intensive care emergency admissions and improve the health of newborns.
  • Bringing Diversity Home. We’ve always believed that our workforce should reflect the diversity of the members we serve. More than two thirds of our employees are women, and one third are diverse. Fifteen percent of our workforce participates in our five Business Resource Groups— affinity groups for networking, education and connection that support our diverse and inclusive environment. We’re also committed to partnering with suppliers who reflect our community, and have established contracts totaling over $15 million with diverse vendors and suppliers over the past three years.

At Tufts Health Plan, we don’t think of addressing the needs of our diverse members as being something “above and beyond.” Rather, it’s a vital and integral part of our work—one that enables us to bring better, more affordable health care to all of our members.