SBC DIGEST: GuideStone waives telemedicine co-pays for 90 days; IMB staff works from home; Chaplains provide comfort hotline

GuideStone waives telemedicine co-pays for 90 days

By Roy Hayhurst

DALLAS (BP) -- Telemedicine has proven to be an effective way to seek medical attention during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. In response, GuideStone participants in a U.S.-based Highmark BCBS health plan -- including Comprehensive, SecureHealth and HSA-qualified High Deductible Health Plans -- can access Teladoc at no co-pay through June 14, 2020.

SecureHealth and all other comprehensive health plan participants are always able to access Teladoc with no co-pay.

This waiver for other health plans remains in effect for 90 days from March 14 and is only available to participants located within the United States and on a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. GuideStone health plan participants internationally on Cigna Global have access to telehealth services through the Cigna WellBeing app -- the standard telemedicine service available through Cigna at no co-pay.

"We are pleased to be able to offer this benefit to all of the pastors, church staff, their families and others through our health plans," GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. "The safest place to be when you're sick is in your home. Telemedicine provides access to board-certified doctors who can ensure you get the care you need without overwhelming urgent care and emergency departments."

GuideStone health plan participants can register for Teladoc at Member.Teladoc.com/GuideStone.

GuideStone is encouraging all of its participants to register for Teladoc right away. Participants will be required to answer a few medical questions and provide account information. Having the registration information completed will speed up access time in the event that they do need to use the service.

For more information on COVID-19 and Teladoc resources, visit Teladoc.com/Coronavirus.

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IMB Richmond staff works from home

By Staff

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- IMB leadership is thankful for all U.S.-based staff do to support more than 6,500 adults and children sharing Christ among the nations! These staff members are vital to Southern Baptists' stewardship of the Revelation 7:9 vision.

To provide ongoing, uninterrupted support to our workers overseas and to best care for our Richmond-based staff during this unprecedented time, we are taking extraordinary steps. Richmond staff are critical to our work, and we want them to be safe and remain healthy. Also, as a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, the IMB aims to set an example by leading in unison to "Love thy neighbor," to submit to authorities, and to find opportunities to minister to those in need.

In light of these considerations, as of close of business on Tuesday, March 17, all Richmond-based employees have been directed to work from home through at least April 3. The IMB is not closed but has moved to telework for a limited time. Leadership will continue to monitor the situation and will inform Richmond-based staff at least one week before returning to normal operations. Salary and benefits will not be impacted.

"Thank you for your faith, flexibility, and positive attitude!" said IMB President Paul Chitwood. "We are praying for you in this time of uncertainty. We are deeply grateful for the critical work you do every day to help ensure our field personnel can continue to share the Gospel with those who have never heard and to mobilize Southern Baptists to that end. You are vital to the missionary task."

As usual, IMB's partners can contact the home office for any needs at info@imb.org.

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Texas chaplains provide toll-free comfort hotline

By Staff

GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP) -- As the COVID-19 crisis sparks concern and uncertainty across the nation, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief has responded by making chaplains available to the public through a simple phone call.

The toll-free number -- 800-921-3287 -- will allow people to visit with a chaplain to receive prayer and encouragement.

"Trained chaplains are standing by to pray and provide spiritual comfort for those in need," said SBTC DR Director Scottie Stice. "We believe this is the best way we can be of service to the community at this moment in time."

The phone number will be available to call from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day for as long as the crisis remains.

Roy Hayhurst is director of denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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