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Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Awarded NCQA's Accreditation Status of 'Excellent'
Date:9/1/2009

NEW YORK, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Empire BlueCross BlueShield announced today that it has been awarded the accreditation status of "Excellent" for its HMO Commercial HMO/POS Combined and Medicare HMO products from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Empire's accreditation status - the highest possible level - is based on a voluntary review of how a health plan ensures that its members receive access to high quality care.

"NCQA's Excellent Accreditation status is reserved for the best health plans in the nation. It is only awarded to those plans that meet or exceed NCQA's rigorous requirements for consumer protection and quality improvement and deliver excellent clinical care," said Margaret E. O'Kane, president of NCQA. "It is partly a health plan's members that determine whether it earns NCQA's Excellent Accreditation status. Any plan that does so should be proud of its accomplishment. It is a sign that the plan's delivering great service and great care -- it's met the toughest test in managed care."

NCQA is an independent, non-profit organization that is dedicated to assessing and reporting on the quality of managed care plans, managed behavioral healthcare organizations, preferred provider organizations, new health plans, physician organizations, credentials verification organizations, disease management programs and other health-related programs.

The NCQA Health Plan Accreditation surveys include rigorous on-site and off-site evaluations of over 60 standards and selected HEDIS measures. A team of physicians and health plan experts conducts accreditation surveys. A national oversight committee of physicians analyzes the team's findings and assigns an accreditation level based on the performance level of each plan being evaluated to NCQA's standards.

"For the last 75 years, Empire has maintained a long and proud tradition of providing access to high quality care - it is an honor being validated by NCQA. Every one of our more than 4,000 employees and our participating network physicians and hospitals contribute to the NCQA Accreditation process in some way, so we are extremely proud of this achievement," said Mark Wagar, president and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. "This accreditation tells our members that the care coverage they receive and the physicians who provide that care constantly maintain high standards of quality."

Empire BlueCross BlueShield, a leading provider of health insurance in New York since 1934, is celebrating it's 75th Anniversary this year. Today, Empire BlueCross BlueShield proudly provides health care benefits to nearly 6 million members and access to an extensive network of doctors and hospitals with the strength, stability, and national recognition of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand. You can learn more at www.empireblue.com.

(R) HEDIS is a registered trademark of NCQA.

About Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com.


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SOURCE Empire BlueCross BlueShield
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