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Governor Rendell Appoints Dr. Richard Snyder of Independence Blue Cross to Chronic Care Commission

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell recently appointed Richard Snyder, M.D., senior vice president of Health Services at Independence Blue Cross (IBC) to the state's Chronic Care Commission. Snyder took his oath of office last week in Harrisburg along with 36 other commission appointees during its first meeting.

The commission will lead efforts to improve care for Pennsylvanians living with chronic health conditions such as asthma, congestive heart failure, depression, diabetes and lung disease. The commission is comprised of members from the governor's cabinet including a unique combination of health care industry representatives from across the state.

According to data within the Governor's Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform plan, approximately 78 percent of all health care costs in Pennsylvania can be traced to the 20 percent of patients living with chronic disease. However, only 56 percent of these Pennsylvanians receive the care they need. As a result, in 2005 hospitals reported more than $1.7 billion in hospital charges for hospitalizations that may have been avoided if patients with chronic health conditions had received necessary preventative care.

"We are dedicated to offering our members innovative approaches to better prevent, detect and treat chronic illnesses, so they lead healthier lives," said Joseph A. Frick, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. "We strongly support statewide efforts to improve the management of chronic disease so that Pennsylvanians receive the right care at the right time -- making health care more affordable for all."

The commission will recommend efforts to identify and assist chronically ill patients by providing additional information about their illnesses and helping them develop skills to manage effectively their conditions. This will include establishing regional community learning partnerships and forming alliances with community-based organizations to help support care.

In addition, the group will seek to increase use of nationally recognized "best practices" for treating chronic disease through pay-for-performance and other incentives to providers -- a concept IBC has long supported through its quality incentive payment system (QIPS). Primary care physicians who participate in the health plan's Keystone Health Plan East HMO provider network may receive additional compensation through QIPS by demonstrating high quality patient care for a number of conditions, including asthma and diabetes.

Additionally, the commission will make technology recommendations for the development of a statewide chronic care information system including a system that will provide insurer claims data to primary care physicians to help target patients' treatment plans.

"I am extremely honored to serve on the Governor's Chronic Care Commission," said Dr. Snyder. "I look forward to working with the many partners from the commission on this important project to help improve the health of Pennsylvanians living with chronic disease."

As IBC's Senior Vice President of Health Services, Snyder has led a number of key initiatives including the implementation of the company's award-winning Connections(SM) Health Management Programs, which provides members 24/7 access to information and support for 22 chronic diseases. An evaluation of the program's second year results completed in 2006 indicated that the Connections(SM) lowered overall medical cost trends by nearly three percent.

Snyder is a member of the American Medical Association, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, and the Chester County Medical Society. In addition, Snyder is a member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)'s Review Oversight Committee and America's Health Insurance Plan (AHIP)'s Quality and Industry Standards Workshop.

Snyder earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Franklin & Marshall College and Medical Degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania.

About Independence Blue Cross:

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For nearly 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. In 2006, Independence Blue Cross was nationally recognized by the Disease Management Association of America for Connections SM, its outstanding program that improves the health and well-being of people with chronic illnesses. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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