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News Release

Contact Tracing, Outreach to High Risk Populations Gives Medica Employees the Opportunity to Demonstrate Their Community Commitments

MINNEAPOLIS — Medica employees are helping to reduce the impact of COVID-19 by working with the Minnesota Department of Health as COVID-19 contact tracers.

Contact tracers work with individuals who have tested positive for the virus to identify their contacts who may now be at risk. It is part of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz's strategy to limit exponential growth of the disease while safely reopening parts of the economy.

Medica employees participating in the effort attend an online training program and work as contract tracers three days a week during their regular working hours. An average call takes about 45 minutes. Medica will support the program for three weeks starting May 26.

"As the number of cases continue to grow, it's important that the response to the coronavirus involves a community-wide effort," said Medica Medical Director Dr. John Piatkowski. "I am proud of our team for recognizing the unique role they can play in helping our fellow Minnesotans curb the spread, and begin a return to normal lives and economic stability."

In addition to contact tracing, Medica employees also launched a coronavirus high-risk outreach program to help manage the physical and emotional wellbeing for its members. Under the program, Medica's analytic teams developed a risk model to identify members at highest risk for experiencing complications related to COVID-19.

Medica team members contact the identified members to provide them with resources and information to keep them as healthy as possible to avoid complications. Those outcomes will also help save health care dollars by identifying health needs that may have gone unmet.

"We have found the high risk outreach program is filling a very important role," Piatkowski said. "Not only are we providing our members with information and resources, we also help meet their emotional needs. In some cases, Medica employees have been their only human contact since self-isolation began."