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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Sponsors Bridges to Excellence Program, Focusing on Quality Management of Diabetes
Date:3/23/2009

Bold, new BCBSTX program to make health and wellness top priorities by rewarding physicians for performance.

RICHARDSON, Texas, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) has announced that it is now licensed as a sponsor of a new program, Bridges to Excellence (BTE). The BTE program's aim is to promote quality management of patients with chronic diseases. Because of the growing prevalence of diabetes in Texas and the attention diabetes management receives from BCBSTX customers, Blue Cross has selected diabetes for its initial activity. The new program is part of the company's commitment to improving the health and wellness of BCBSTX members and the company's focus on the metabolic syndrome (see more below). Currently, the program includes over 50 physicians across 20 rural and metro areas, including Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Tyler.

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is pleased to have entered into an agreement to participate in this innovative program which identifies and rewards physicians who deliver consistent, effective care," says Eduardo Sanchez, vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. "We view BTE as an effective, tested diabetes clinical care program that will improve the health and well-being of BCBSTX members with diabetes."

Bridges to Excellence(R) is a not-for-profit company, founded in 2002, whose mission is to create significant progress in quality of care by recognizing and financially rewarding physicians who demonstrate that they provide quality care that meets established guidelines.

"Improving the management of patients with Diabetes and other chronic illnesses has been a priority for BCBSTX for years," says Francois deBrantes, Chief Executive Officer, Bridges to Excellence, "and, it's an honor for us to partner with Dr. Sanchez and his team to further stimulate the improvement in quality care for all residents in Texas."

Metabolic Syndrome

In addition to the BTE diabetes program, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is focused on metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the presence of a cluster of any three of the following five conditions in one patient: unhealthy waist circumference, diabetes or pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, or low HDL. The company plans to raise awareness and engage individuals at risk for metabolic syndrome or with metabolic syndrome to eat healthier and be more physically active. Healthy eating and active living are keys to achieving a healthy weight, as even modest weight loss can improve diabetes control and lower blood pressure. Weight loss can also lead to a reduction in back problems and the need for hip or knee replacement, thereby adding to its health benefits.

About Blue Cross

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas -- the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas - is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 40,000 physicians and 400 hospitals to serve 4 million members in all 254 counties. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. HCSC is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
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