Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota on Forming an Equity Policy, According to Vayong Moua

March 29, 2021
Peter Wehrwein

,
Briana Contreras

In this final part of a two-part video series, Senior Editor Peter Wehrwein spoke with Vayong Moua, the Director of Racial and Health Equity Advocacy for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSMN), about healthcare equity issues, how they relate to access issues, the political determinants of health and killing of George Floyd.

Senior Editor Peter Wehrwein spoke with Vayong Moua, the Director of Racial and Health Equity Advocacy for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSMN), for this week's episode of the MHE Talks: Improving Patient Access podcast series. Wehrwein and Moua discussed healthcare equity issues, how they relate to access issues, the political determinants of health and killing of George Floyd.

Moua has been at the Minnesota Blues plan since 2005 and in his current position since 2017. Prior to working for the insurer, he worked with several community and state agencies in the areas of policy analysis, multicultural community health issues and interdisciplinary initiatives, including with the American Cancer Society on issues related to tobacco control.

He is a currently a Bush fellow and was chair from 2013 to 2019 of the Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council, a legislated council to advise the Minnesota Department of Human Services on advancing equity. He was awarded a 2019 Outstanding Refugee Award from the Minnesota Department of Human Service, an award designed to recognize civic engagement, entrepreneurship and leadership shown by members of Minnesota’s refugee community.

Below is a brief excerpt from the interview with Moua.

What is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota doing?

It has developed its own equity policy to cover our contracting, our procurement, hiring, retention, the way we review policies and our own internal governance. This is fairly new, and I'll be honest, a lot of this has been outside in advocacy and making sure that Blue Cross takes an ecological approach to racial and health equity, not just inside our own four walls.

We want to make sure it's enterprise wide, from how we design our business side and that we're actually applying racial and health equity across that continuum of health.

You can't take on everything wrong. You’ll be boiling the ocean. But what I say is that if you care about lowering healthcare costs, you actually do need to go upstream. You're familiar with the concept of prevention, then you should see racial health inequities and structural racism in the name of prevention,

I'll be the first one to admit that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is on its own journey. And it has a lot of work to do. But there's a lot of conviction. And there's a lot of humility there. And I'm, nobody's pushing my organization harder than I am.