Regence medical directors advise social distancing, other safeguards as COVID-19 spreads

March 18, 2020
Dr. Drew Oliveira Q13 FOX skin health and protection
By Regence

Updated March 18, 2020

As news continues to emerge about the COVID-19 pandemic, Regence medical directors are focused on educating, preparing, and supporting our communities.  

Here are some of the insights they’ve shared over the last week:

What we know about COVID-19

“A majority of cases – more than 80% -- involve mild symptoms…and we’re seeing little impact to those under 30 years of age. The impact of COVID-19 appears to get more severe with age.” – Dr. Amy Khan

Click below to hear more from Dr. Khan. You can also listen to previous segments of KBOI Medical Moments online.

Why social distancing is important for public health

 “Slowing the spread is aimed at benefiting our entire community and reducing the risk to the most vulnerable….flattening the curve makes it easier for our health systems to care for those who are ill (not everyone gets ill at the same time), allowing for better initial treatment, as well as the development of more effective treatments. Secondly, the total number of infections during the course of the epidemic will be lessened. – Dr. Drew Oliveira

Read more of Dr. Oliveira’s perspective on social distancing on LinkedIn. Dr. Oliveira also shares some tips below on practicing social distancing and taking care of ourselves during unfamiliar times:

How to talk to your kids about COVID-19

“When facing a situation like COVID-19, anxiety becomes heightened, especially when children pick up on our anxieties as parents, teachers and neighbors. Making time for our child’s questions and being available to talk is extremely important to helping them process and manage their stress.”

Read Dr. Polo’s tips for engaging your children in these difficult conversations on LinkedIn.

Stay up to date on the latest information

We encourage you to seek out the most up-to-date guidance provided by the CDC and your local government officials as news about the virus continues to evolve. For FAQ and details on member benefits related to COVID-19, please visit this page

Meet our Medical Directors

Dr. Amy Khan is the Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield of Idaho. Based in Salt Lake City, Dr. Khan’s clinical experience includes internal medicine, addiction medicine, and medical epidemiology with a focus on chronic disease control and prevention.

Dr. Drew Oliveira is the Senior Executive Medical Director for Regence Health Plans. Based in Seattle, Washington, Dr. Olivera leads Regence’s statewide medical cost and quality stewardship activities, driving health care cost affordability initiatives and engaging key employers and providers to enhance the quality of care for members.

Dr. Jim Polo is the Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, and also leads behavioral health and substance abuse efforts for the Regence Health Plans. In addition to his expertise in behavioral health, Dr. Polo brings over 25 years of experience as a practicing physician, as well as in executive leadership positions for hospitals and physician groups that specialize in medical, surgical, and pediatric services.