California health plan crafts handmade cards for nursing home residents

With the pandemic leaving so many nursing home residents isolated from family and friends, a colorful idea arose at Inland Empire Health Plan.

The Southern California Medicaid health plan launched a drive to create and distribute handmade greeting cards at skilled-nursing facilities caring for plan beneficiaries.

So far the plan’s staff has helped craft 1,300 cards, recruiting friends, family and local organizations to help. 
“We think these greeting cards can serve as a tender touch to the heart, a positive way to spread some joy, and to show our members that we’re thinking about them,” said Kristy Garan-Martinez, Inland Empire’s senior director of utilization management, whose team originated the idea.

The cards are being delivered by the health plan’s Community Partnerships team. “I really enjoyed making these handmade cards knowing that we are able to let the residents of the SNFs know they are thought of and cared about. I hope, when they receive the cards, that the smile it brought me while writing them carries over to them,” said Jane Maass, Inland Empire’s executive director of operations.

“Now more than ever, it’s important to consider the impact of a simple act of kindness,” said LuAnna Jáuregui, the health plan’s manager of community partnerships. “A kind message written on a piece of paper can make all the difference to a person who truly needs it, especially during this time.”


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