Regence is here to support your behavioral health needs, in today’s COVID-19 time and beyond

By Regence
April 23, 2020
Dr. Cheryl Pegus Regence

Dr. Cheryl Pegus, President of Consumer Health Solutions and Regence’s Chief Medical Officer, explains some of the ways Regence is supporting members and providers.

Even the strongest among us have – or will – reach a point during these days of physical isolation where stress and anxiety and general sadness may get the better of us. This is perfectly normal under the circumstances, and there are ways you can get through it.

In some cases, establishing routines like regular sleep schedules, getting fresh air and exercise or eating nutritious meals, you can manage things yourself. But in other cases, you might need support from others.

Regence has always provided a variety of ways to improve care for our members, to maximize mental well-being in our communities, to reduce care gaps and have always worked against stigma.

One significant effort has been the training of our customer service professionals in Mental Health First-Aid (MHFA). This is a globally recognized certification, promoted by the National Council of Behavioral Health as a way to help people identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health illness and substance use disorders. It has helped enhance our skill in supporting our members who might be developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis. 

When a member calls and needs mental health assistance they are immediately directed to the appropriate team. An article highlighting our efforts and the need to destigmatize this issue was featured in the Portland Business Journal.

Our efforts also include strong collaboration with providers, and during this time of COVID-19 our behavioral health providers are able to use telehealth to meet the needs of their patients. We are paying for these services the same as an in-person visit and will continue to help providers use these services. We want to ensure mental well-being, substance use counseling and other supports remain available so needed care can continue without interruption. This includes ensuring that our members have needed supplies of medication on hand, and we have eased our medication refill policies to allow this.

Other wellness supports include the Regence Empower Core well-being platform, which just launched a Coronavirus Resource Center. Self-guided programs such as Managing Your Stress, Enhancing Your Physical Activity, and Building Resilience offer daily activities and guidance for overcoming stress. And Personal Challenge programs support sleep, nutrition, physical activity, and social and emotional well-being.

Most Regence plans offer telehealth through solutions like Doctor on Demand or MDLive, both of which offer behavioral health services for members who are in need.

Our care navigators can help members find the right behavioral health resources. Members can log into their account on to understand what’s available under their health plan.

We are here to support our members, providers and communities during this challenging time, and that includes mental health as well as physical health. We’ll get through this together.