ST. LOUIS, Aug. 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) today announced it is taking additional steps to further protect members and employees from COVID-19, to educate its key stakeholders about the benefits of the vaccine, and to prepare for anticipated vaccine and testing requirements for companies that hold federal contracts.

Earlier this week, the company requested all employees to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. Employees who do not provide proof of vaccination will be required to participate in regular COVID-19 testing and wear masks at all times while in company offices. In addition, Centene is delaying its first phase of the company's return to in-person engagement from September 13, 2021, until October 18, 2021, providing additional time for Centene employees to be vaccinated. Centene will also require vaccination as a general condition of employment for all new employees beginning October 1, 2021, as well as require essential business contractors and subcontractors to provide vaccination attestation prior to entering Centene offices. As an additional measure of care for our members, the company will require employees conducting in-home visits or clinical facility visits with direct member interaction to be fully vaccinated.

Centene's additional guidance aligns with the federal government's announcement that all federal workers and onsite contractors must be vaccinated or be regularly tested, a requirement that is anticipated will soon apply to all companies that hold federal contracts. As a leading healthcare company with contracts related to the federal government, Centene is committed to following similar guidelines.

Today, Centene also reiterated its commitment to improving vaccination rates among its members. The company plans to continue its leadership in this effort through additional comprehensive education and outreach programs, with a specific emphasis on the most vulnerable populations.

"We are deeply committed to protecting our members and employees as the Delta variant continues its spread across the U.S., causing a new pandemic of the unvaccinated," said Michael Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene. "Our industry must be a leader in addressing vaccine hesitancy, especially to protect those who cannot safely receive the inoculation, such as young children and individuals with compromised immune systems. Key to this goal is a strong collaboration between the private and public sectors at the federal, state and local levels."

To address the spread of the Delta variant, the company will continue to expand key outreach programs it has supported throughout the pandemic. These initiatives are specifically focused on promoting awareness of COVID-19 vaccinations to encourage members, employees and under-resourced communities to receive the vaccine. These efforts include:

  • National Outreach Campaign – Centene is implementing a nationwide member outreach campaign, asking members to update their current vaccination status while providing them with aid in accessing and scheduling vaccines. These efforts include the call campaign and public service announcement (PSA) initiative announced on June 8, 2021, which has reached more than 10 million members.
  • Education Campaign with the Pro Football Hall of Fame – In March of 2021, Centene formed a partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to increase education around vaccination benefits through developing and promoting a series of PSAs, and hosting events around the country with Hall of Famers. The PSAs, airing on 160 national television networks and digital platforms, specifically focused on outreach to communities of color.
  • Clinical Outreach Program – Centene designed and implemented a clinical outreach program to address member needs leveraging a machine-learning algorithm to identify individuals facing critical social determinants of health challenges. The algorithm then used geospatial data to consider proximity to vaccination centers and known medical risks such as chronic conditions.
  • Hispanic Family Equity Fund – In May of 2021, Centene, through its foundation, the Centene Charitable Foundation, pledged to match the first $1 million in corporate donations to the Hispanic Family Equity Fund. The fund, launched by the Healthy Americas Foundation (HAF), the supporting organization of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, aims to support Hispanic families in the post-pandemic recovery.
  • Partnership with the Lyft Vaccine Alliance – Centene joined the Lyft Vaccine Alliance, which is offering 60 million rides to and from vaccination sites for low-income, uninsured, and at-risk communities.
  • Academic Research Studying Basis for Vaccine Decision-Making – Through the Centene Center for Health Transformation, a research partnership with the Brown School at Washington University and Duke University Center for Advanced Hindsight, Centene is studying the basis for decision-making on vaccines to refine its messaging to members.
  • Leveraging Community Partnerships for Local Outreach – Centene and its local health plans are leveraging community partnerships such as the National Urban League and local affiliates and the Office of Tribal Relations to develop tailored, culturally sensitive campaigns and educational materials for members.
  • Supporting Employees – As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, keeping Centene employees safe remains a top priority. Following the national availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Centene established a conservative, hybrid return to in-person engagement approach for the fall of 2021. Additionally, in response to the ongoing pandemic Centene:
    • Waived all prior authorizations and employee cost sharing for COVID-19 related screening, testing, treatment and vaccination.
    • Provided up to 10 additional working days of paid leave to support employees receiving the vaccination, or those employees caring for a family or household member affected by COVID-19.
    • Offered employees with up to a $1,000 discount to their health insurance premiums for conducting a number of healthy behaviors that included the COVID-19 vaccination. Provided a one-time payment of $750 to employees who performed critical services in Centene offices in 2020.
    • Established a Medical Reserve Leave policy to support clinical staff who wanted to join a medical reserve force and serve their communities, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy supports clinical staff by providing paid leave and benefits for up to three months of volunteer service.

About Centene Corporation
Centene Corporation, a Fortune 25 company, is a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise that is committed to helping people live healthier lives. The Company takes a local approach – with local brands and local teams – to provide fully integrated, high-quality, and cost-effective services to government-sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. Centene offers affordable and high-quality products to nearly 1 in 15 individuals across the nation, including Medicaid and Medicare members (including Medicare Prescription Drug Plans) as well as individuals and families served by the Health Insurance Marketplace, the TRICARE program, and individuals in correctional facilities. The Company also serves several international markets, and contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide a variety of specialty services focused on treating the whole person. Centene focuses on long-term growth and the development of its people, systems and capabilities so that it can better serve its members, providers, local communities, and government partners.

Forward-Looking Statements 
All statements, other than statements of current or historical fact, contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. Without limiting the foregoing, forward-looking statements often use words such as "believe," "anticipate," "plan," "expect," "estimate," "intend," "seek," "target," "goal," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "can," "continue" and other similar words or expressions (and the negative thereof). Centene (the Company, our, or we) intends such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe-harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and we are including this statement for purposes of complying with these safe-harbor provisions. In particular, these statements include, without limitation, statements about our future operating or financial performance, market opportunity, growth strategy, competition, expected activities in completed and future acquisitions, including statements about the impact of our proposed acquisition of Magellan Health (the Magellan Acquisition), our completed acquisition of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WellCare and such acquisition, the WellCare Acquisition), other recent and future acquisitions, investments, the adequacy of our available cash resources and our settlements with Ohio and Mississippi to resolve claims and/or allegations made by those states with regard to past practices at Envolve Pharmacy Solutions, Inc. (Envolve), as our pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) subsidiary, and other possible future claims and settlements related to the past practices at Envolve and our ability to settle claims with other states within the reserve estimate we have recorded and on other acceptable terms, or at all. These forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on numerous assumptions and assessments made by us in light of our experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, business strategies, operating environments, future developments and other factors we believe appropriate. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are subject to change because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future, including economic, regulatory, competitive and other factors that may cause our or our industry's actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available to us on the date hereof. Except as may be otherwise required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements included in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date hereof. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, as actual results may differ materially from projections, estimates, or other forward-looking statements due to a variety of important factors, variables and events including, but not limited to: the impact of COVID-19 on global markets, economic conditions, the healthcare industry and our results of operations and the response by governments and other third parties; the risk that regulatory or other approvals required for the Magellan Acquisition may be delayed or not obtained or are subject to unanticipated conditions that could require the exertion of management's time and our resources or otherwise have an adverse effect on us; the possibility that certain conditions to the consummation of the Magellan Acquisition will not be satisfied or completed on a timely basis and accordingly, the Magellan Acquisition may not be consummated on a timely basis or at all; uncertainty as to the expected financial performance of the combined company following completion of the Magellan Acquisition; the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from the Magellan Acquisition or the WellCare Acquisition (or other acquired businesses) will not be realized, or will not be realized within the respective expected time periods; the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of the Magellan Acquisition or that the integration of Magellan Health will be more difficult or time consuming than expected; the risk that potential litigation in connection with the Magellan Acquisition may affect the timing or occurrence of the Magellan Acquisition or result in significant costs of defense, indemnification and liability; a downgrade of the credit rating of our indebtedness; the inability to retain key personnel; disruption from the announcement, pendency, completion and/or integration of the Magellan Acquisition or from the integration of the WellCare Acquisition, or similar risks from other acquisitions we may announce or complete from time to time, including potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationships with customers, employees, suppliers or regulators, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; our ability to accurately predict and effectively manage health benefits and other operating expenses and reserves, including fluctuations in medical utilization rates due to the impact of COVID-19; competition; membership and revenue declines or unexpected trends; changes in healthcare practices, new technologies and advances in medicine; increased healthcare costs; changes in economic, political or market conditions; changes in federal or state laws or regulations, including changes with respect to income tax reform or government healthcare programs as well as changes with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act (collectively referred to as the ACA) and any regulations enacted thereunder that may result from changing political conditions, the new administration or judicial actions; rate cuts or other payment reductions or delays by governmental payors and other risks and uncertainties affecting our government businesses; our ability to adequately price products; tax matters; disasters or major epidemics; changes in expected contract start dates; provider, state, federal, foreign and other contract changes and timing of regulatory approval of contracts; the expiration, suspension, or termination of our contracts with federal or state governments (including, but not limited to, Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE or other customers); the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of legal or regulatory proceedings or matters, including claims against our PBM business or whether additional claims, reviews or investigations relating to our PBM business will be brought by states, the federal government or shareholder litigants, or government investigations; challenges to our contract awards; cyber-attacks or other privacy or data security incidents; the exertion of management's time and our resources, and other expenses incurred and business changes required in connection with complying with the undertakings in connection with any regulatory, governmental or third party consents or approvals for acquisitions, including the Magellan Acquisition; disruption caused by significant completed and pending acquisitions making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of acquisition transactions; changes in expected closing dates, estimated purchase price and accretion for acquisitions; the risk that acquired businesses will not be integrated successfully; restrictions and limitations in connection with our indebtedness; our ability to maintain or achieve improvement in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Star ratings and maintain or achieve improvement in other quality scores in each case that can impact revenue and future growth; availability of debt and equity financing, on terms that are favorable to us; inflation; foreign currency fluctuations and risks and uncertainties discussed in the reports that Centene has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This list of important factors is not intended to be exhaustive. We discuss certain of these matters more fully, as well as certain other factors that may affect our business operations, financial condition and results of operations, in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. Due to these important factors and risks, we cannot give assurances with respect to our future performance, including without limitation our ability to maintain adequate premium levels or our ability to control our future medical and selling, general and administrative costs.

 

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