Excellus’ Crisis Plan Helps Company Pivot
Working from home, Melissa Gardner, executive vice president, population health engagement at Excellus BCBS, has to juggle work and kids. In a statement, she said: “We are supporting each other more than I would have thought possible,” she said about her colleagues at the insurer. Photo provided.

Excellus’ Crisis Plan Helps Company Pivot

Nearly entire workforce of 3,600 at Excellus still working from home. ‘We haven’t missed a beat,’ says regional president By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Physician Gregory Carnevale,is vice president of medical affairs for retail markets. Making an organization-wide shift in basic business operations for a company of 3,600 employees represents a huge challenge. That is why Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has been ready for years to face some sort of major crisis. Last spring, it turned out to be COVID-19. Long before the pandemic, about a third of the insurance firm’s employees had been periodically working at home to lessen their need to travel to any of the company’s offices in Syracuse, Watertown, Elmira, Binghamton, Rochester, Utica and Plattsburgh. But it took preparation begun long before the pandemic to shift to a nearly entirely home-based workforce. The Plan “Not knowing what the future would bear got us ready for the pandemic,” said Mark Muthumbi, regional president. Before shifting to an entirely home-based business model, Excellus had in place a means to securely transmit sensitive data and had available sufficient laptops to keep everyone connected. When the governor declared a state of emergency, Excellus was ready. On March 16, the company verified that

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