Blue Cross Blue Sheild MA
2022 Annual Report

Amplifying Voices

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Message from the President and CE0

During 2022, we aimed to amplify the voices of those working on issues that affect Massachusetts residents' ability to access health care and use our own voice to call attention to our key focus areas.

We urged coordinated action to retain and grow our behavioral health workforce.

We launched the Racial Justice in Health grant program, to elevate the voices of those who are advocating to ensure equitable access to health care for communities that are directly impacted by structural racism and racial inequalities.

We raised the alarm about the risk of declining health insurance coverage following the end of the public health emergency and outlined key strategies to reduce losses.

We partnered with MassLive to launch a monthly guest column aimed at demystifying the health care system.

We convened 13 journalists from across the country through our Health Coverage Fellowship, during which they honed their ability to share the latest medical innovations and public health challenges with a wide audience.

Through our grantmaking, policy and research, and convenings, we will continue to center the important voices that are often left out of the conversation.

Audrey Shelto Audrey Shelto signature

Audrey Shelto

Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health

Creating and maintaining access to mental health and substance use disorder care has been a persistent struggle in our state and the pandemic not only exacerbated the need but also devastated the workforce. The Foundation used survey and qualitative methods to generate critical data for policymakers and advocates in order to understand the challenges faced by residents, caregivers, and providers, and to build toward a more responsive behavioral health system.

Behavioral Health During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2022, the Foundation published a report on findings from a new survey we commissioned that gathered information on the need for and access to mental health and/or substance use care among Massachusetts adults ages 19 and older and their close relatives. Here's what we heard:

Need & Access
More than 1 in 3
adults reported needing behavioral health care for themselves or a family member over the prior 12 months
of adults who identify as a race or ethnicity other than non-Hispanic White report a need for behavioral health care, versus 22% for non-Hispanic White adults
Social Factors
of respondents reported job losses or disruptions
said they consumed alcohol or cannabis more frequently after the pandemic began
Access & Capacity
of those who reported needing behavioral health did not receive any behavioral health care
More than 1 in 3
of MA adults anticipated a need for behavioral health care for themselves and/or a close relative in the future

Creating a Robust, Diverse, and Resilient Behavioral Health Workforce in Massachusetts

Solving the problem of a distressed behavioral health workforce requires insight into the experiences of those on the frontline. We asked a group of local and national providers, leaders, and advocates to share their perspectives on how we can best build a robust, diverse, and resilient workforce that meets the needs of the Massachusetts population.

We're all really worried about behavioral health for kids, both for ongoing issues that have resulted in worse emergency department boarding than ever in my over 20 years working in this field. The delay that happened to the Roadmap as a result of COVID, combined with the COVID impact are both devastating.
We need to address the mental health of providers. Who is caring for the caregivers?
When you talk about a more diverse workforce, we need to talk about those with lived experience, how do we create paths for peer supports to become LCSWs or psychologists?
Association for Behavioral Health Tweet
The report identified 7 recommendations.

Read the report


Racial Inequities in Health

One of our grantmaking strategies is to support organizations in telling their stories and engaging in advocacy. The videos below highlight five of the Foundation's grant partners and their work to define health equity through community action.

Watch stories from 5 Racial Justice in Health grant partners below.

Creating a Safe and Welcoming Environment
Somali Development Center
Health equity for me is: all refugees and the immigrants we serve, every one of them are treated equally in terms of their health and access to health care...
— Adeola Ebekozian, Deputy Director, Somali Development Center
Making Change and Demanding Justice
La Colaborativa
...The empowerment of the people is the empowerment of the community and through our work, social determinants are changed.
— Gladys Vega, Executive Director, La Colaborativa
Connecting Gaps Between Public Health and Environmental Justice
Equity for us means that communities of color, our communities, are centered in all health processes.
— Sara Arman, Director of Health Equity and Policy, GreenRoots
Leveling the Playing Field and Breaking Cycles
Brookview House
The work that we do is important because I care about the folks that live in my community—so if individuals and families are healthy, then our community is as well.
— Deborah Collins-Gousby, Chief Operating Officer, Brookview House
Activating Community for Transformation
Asian Women For Health
...Data equity has everything to do with how the government will allocate resources and create targeted, culturally responsive programs for marginalized communities like Asian communities.
— Chien-Chi Huang, Founder and Executive Director, Asian Women for Health

Currently in its second year, the Racial Justice in Health grant program cohort is continuing their collective learning and translating their knowledge into policy, advocacy, and communication strategies. Learn more about the program.

Coverage and Care

Coverage & Care

Promoting access to coverage and care has been a central focus since the Foundation's inception. Through policy and research, grantmaking, and educational programs, the Foundation acts as a thought leader and convener. We express the importance of preserving and expanding access, while inviting a diverse set of perspectives to help prioritize our actions.

A Focus on Health Care: Five Key Priorities for the Next Administration

For the first time since 2019, the Foundation hosted an in-person event focused on five areas of health reform for incoming state leaders to prioritize, which were detailed in an accompanying report. This report not only created direct recommendations to government leaders, but it also gave us the opportunity to engage, connect, and exchange ideas with the public and other community leaders about the health care system challenges in the Commonwealth.

We fail to control health care costs, which leads to direct impacts in terms of ability to afford care. And the lack of being able to afford care leads to patients that do not get the care that they need. Those patients are disproportionately lower income, disproportionately [people of color], and disproportionately employees of small businesses. That failure perpetuated the health inequities that have been persistent in our health care system.
  • Michelle and Panel
    Michele P. Durham, (former) Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center and panelists
  • Audience Networking
    The December 8th, 2022 event allowed us to engage with health care stakeholders in person for the first time since early 2019
  • Full Panel
    Audrey Shelto, President and CEO of BCBSMA Foundation, introduces moderator Priyanka Dayal McCluskey and the panel of speakers
  • Amara and Carlos
    Amara Anosike, Director of Behavioral Health Policy and Advocacy at Boston Children’s Hospital and Carlos F. Cappas, Chief Behavioral Health Officer at Lynn CHC
  • Juan Fernando
    Juan Fernando Lopera, Beth Israel Lahey Health’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer
  • Dr Sayah
    Assaad Sayah, CEO of Cambridge Health Alliance and Commissioner of Public Health for the City of Cambridge

Connecting Consumers to Coverage

In the face of ongoing coverage gaps across the state, the Foundation concluded its Connecting Consumers with Care grant program in 2022 in order to broaden the scope of the program and reach new communities with a higher rate of uninsurance, a higher number of individuals that lack insurance, or that are more likely to experience gaps in coverage. The new Connecting Consumers to Coverage program is an evolution of our grantmaking strategy that supports both health insurance enrollment (initial and re-enrollment support) and community-centered outreach efforts to connect individuals to health insurance. This shift allowed us to hear from grant partners about how our Coverage and Care strategy has impacted their work.

Connecting Consumers with Care program has been a great support in strengthening our impact in the community, increasing consumer education and enrollment. Data and reports provided by BCBS of MA Foundation have been essential in informing our outreach strategies and enrollment efforts.
Dedicated funding for the work of our patient benefits coordinators is scarce, and this funding helped us to sustain and expand our service to meet underserved communities and adapt as policies changed.

2022By the Numbers


Total Grant Funds
grants awarded to
7 Total Advancing Community Driven Mental Health Grants
11 Total Connecting Consumers to Coverage Grants
39 Total Catalyst Fund Grants
11 Total Strengthening the Voice for Access Grants
25 Total Special Initiatives Grants
4 Total Policy and Research Grants
4 Total Racial Justice in Health Grants


5,692 downloads of 11 publicationsDownloads


Board of Directors

  • Andrew C. Dreyfus Chair

    Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

  • Patricia A. Washington Vice Chair

    Board Advisor

  • Zamawa Arenas

    Founder & CEO, Flowetik

  • JD Chesloff

    Executive Director, Massachusetts Business Roundtable

  • Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH

    Dean and Robert Knox Professor, Boston University School of Public Health

  • Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH

    Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Kristine M. Trusty Endowed Chair in Psychiatry, Chief Academic Officer, Chief of the Division of Women’s Mental Health, and Director, Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction Clinical and Health Services Research, McLean Hospital

  • Michael Hunter

    Vice President, Business Development Trinity Financial

  • Thea James, MD

    Vice President of Mission & Associate Chief Medical Officer, Boston Medical Center

  • Mary Kay Leonard

    Independent Consultant

  • Kiame Mahaniah, MD

    President and CEO, Lynn Community Health Center

  • Antonia "Toni" G. McGuire, RN

    Senior Consultant, John Snow Inc.

  • Michael Miller

    Strategic Policy Director, Community Catalyst

  • Sandhya Rao, MD

    Chief Medical Officer & Sr. Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

  • Henry M. Thomas III

    President, Urban League of Springfield, Inc.

Zamawa Arenas

Add Your Voice to the Conversation

The Foundation is committed to listening to, learning from, and acting on input received directly from local community organizations and community members most impacted by structural racism and health inequities.

Share your voice on social media, sign up for our updates, and tell us how we are doing.