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Companion Benefit Alternatives Awarded Silver Honors for Best Practices in Health Plans and Health Networks by URAC

Flexible Depression Management Program Employs Telephone Contact in Treatment

COLUMBIA, S.C., April 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Companion Benefit Alternatives, Inc. (CBA) was awarded Silver Honors for Health Plans and Health Networks by leading health care accreditation organization, URAC. The honor was announced at the 2009 Best Practices in Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection Awards Gala on April 1-2 in Orlando, Florida. The awards are designed to recognize innovative leadership and successful programs in consumer-focused health care management.

CBA was honored for its Essential Solutions for Depression Management Program, a flexible, disease management model that uses telephone outreach to support best practice management for depression. The program includes regular telephone contact between licensed clinical staff and the member, instead of relying solely on printed educational and support materials. With the member's permission, CBA disease managers will share their findings with the prescribing physician so the information can be integrated into the treatment plan.

"Depression is generally under-diagnosed and, even when recognized, is often not treated in accordance with clinical practice guidelines, costing employers $44 billion each year in lost productivity," said Dr. John Emerick, Medical Director for CBA. "Our program assists primary care physicians in improving diagnostic accuracy and patient adherence to treatment plans. Using this model has demonstrated decreased medical costs of 29% for those enrolled in the program."

Seventy submissions were evaluated by a 27-member panel of prestigious, independent judges including experts in program evaluation, care coordination, health information technology, employer and purchaser decision making and patient safety. Honors were awarded in six categories: Health Plans and Health Networks, Health Management, Health Information/Decision Support, Pharmacy Quality Management, Consumer Decision-Making, and Consumer Health Improvement.

"Our Best Practices awards program is a unique celebration of the best the health care industry has to offer. These companies have made a difference in the lives of consumers by implementing leading-edge programs with results that matter," said Alan P. Spielman, president and CEO of URAC. "At a time when health care reform is in the spotlight, achievements from companies like Companion Benefit Alternatives are even more important."

About Companion Benefit Alternatives

Columbia, S.C.-based CBA ( is a managed behavioral health organization that administers mental health and substance abuse benefits for 1.3 million beneficiaries enrolled in BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and other Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans, BlueChoice(R) HealthPlan of South Carolina, the Federal Employee Program, and Planned Administrators Inc. plans. CBA is a separate company that administers mental health benefits. CBA ensures beneficiaries have access to appropriate behavioral health care, and lowers costs for employers by offering case and disease management, maintaining a provider network, providing referrals and authorizations, reviewing cases for medical necessity, and performing other utilization management functions.

For more information, call 1-800-868-1032.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About URAC

URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is well known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation, education and measurement programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in establishing meaningful quality measures for the entire health care industry. For more information, visit

SOURCE Companion Benefit Alternatives
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