On Alert: Bright Horizons' Crisis Care Assist Supports Employers through Pandemic

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Highlights

  • The CDC recently warned parents and employers in districts with swine flu-related school closings that children should not be sent to another group care setting.
  • Crisis Care Assist, a rapid response, new back-up care enhancement to our Back-Up Care Advantage Program' helps employers and working families during times of public health emergencies.
  • Crisis Care Assist includes a reimbursement option for employees to personally arrange a caregiving arrangement with a relative, family friend, or familiar babysitter.
From the moment a national health emergency was declared in the U.S. late last month, the entire nation braced itself for the possibility of a widespread illness. Influenza A H1N1 (swine flu) gradually affected more individuals in the country, and the World Health Organization progressively raised the level of alert from three to four to five on a scale of six as confirmed cases around the world accumulated. Schools, universities, hospitals, and airports  'from Mexico City to Paris' ceased operation to contain what was believed to be an 'imminent pandemic.' Bright Horizons too was on alert. We quickly mobilized in response to heightened concerns, assessing what would be the best course of action for the children and families in our care and for our client partners who entrust us to provide solutions and guidance on unforeseen challenges. Crisis Care Assist, a rapid response, new back-up care enhancement to our Back-Up Care Advantage Program' was launched.

This enhanced service was our way of helping our clients and their employees manage during this uncertain and unpredictable time, as schools closed and regular child care was not available due to possible health risks. 'We offered this new program to provide employers with immediate access to a wide range of back-up child and elder care solutions that solve their business challenges, families' needs, and support the best practices in preventive health measures in the face of this national public health emergency,' said Bright Horizons CEO Dave Lissy. 'In keeping with our core mission, this service provides children with excellent care, gives parents the peace-of-mind they need to be present and productive at work, and offers employers creative answers to real-time business needs.' Many families across the U.S. rely on the use of a back-up child care center when their child's school is closed for unexpected reasons like snow days or for planned reasons like school vacation week or professional development days. However, in late April the Centers for Disease Control warned parents and employers in districts with swine flu-related school closings that parents should not send children to another group care setting because that risks further exposure. For employees and employers already reeling from productivity demands due to the downturn in the economy, this posed an additional business dilemma.  

Within a couple of days of the announcement of the availability of the service, Back-Up Care Advantage: Crisis Care Assist was implemented for 12 Bright Horizons clients. Through Crisis Care Assist organizations have been able to provide their employees who have dependents with access to a nationwide network of in-home child care providers and/or secure payment for care they arrange within their family or existing social network. The program provided a vital service while not opening new social connections that can spread the risk of exposure in the face of a potential flu pandemic.  

Crisis Care Assist includes a reimbursement option for employees to personally arrange a caregiving arrangement with a relative, family friend, or familiar babysitter. In addition, families also have access to a network of hundreds of thousands of caregivers, who have been equipped with Pandemic Flu Preparedness Kits, whom they can screen, interview, and even conduct background checks on. Bright Horizons also developed customized child care solutions for employers with unique needs in the face of the pandemic alert, such as those in heavily affected areas, hospitals and other health care providers, and those under extreme productivity demands.  

To learn more about Bright Horizons' Back-Up Care Advantage: Crisis Care Assist contact Kerri Torres at ktorres@brighthorizons.com or call 800-453-9383 ext. 8720.

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

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The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.