Premera Blue Cross
Understanding the unique healthcare needs of rural communities

In 2018, the Premera Blue Cross board approved a $62.5M investment over five years to improve access to healthcare in rural areas in Washington and Alaska. Camber was engaged by a multi-functional group of executives (the “Rural Health Working Group”) to create an action plan for maximizing the impact of these funds over a time-limited horizon by understanding the unique needs of in-scope rural communities, developing a clear and concise investment strategy, and making a plan for rapidly disbursing funds to opportunities for greatest impact. 

To understand the unique healthcare needs of rural communities, Camber and the Rural Health Working Group engaged with caregivers, administrators, and other partners across Washington and Alaska. This included six trips to engage directly with local stakeholders in rural communities. Ultimately individuals from over 80 organizations were able to provide input on what they viewed as key challenges for their organizations where additional investment could drive positive change. 

Based on stakeholder input as well as additional market research with the support of rural health experts, Camber identified seventeen discrete investment areas that Premera could focus its efforts on. Working with the Rural Health Working Group, this was paired down to four priority investment areas which met the most pressing challenges in rural health, supported the implementation of services, and mutually reinforced the other investment areas. Camber then identified specific investments within these investment areas and created a strategy to disburse funds quickly within the desired timeframe. A preliminary set of grantees who met the criteria was then pulled from the network of stakeholders Premera had previously engaged with. 

For more information on Premera’s Rural Health Initiative, please see their website