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Independence Blue Cross Expands Its Preventive Health Efforts With Focus on Heart Disease and Diabetes
Date:7/9/2009

PHILADELPHIA, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Prevention is receiving more attention nationwide as a successful strategy to improve the quality and lower the cost of health care. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, care for chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease account for 75 percent of medical care costs in the United States. Independence Blue Cross (IBC) launched two new programs in June to help members avoid, or better manage, two serious chronic conditions -- heart disease and diabetes.

The first program targets members who are at risk of developing cardiometabolic syndrome, a condition which may increase a person's chance of developing heart disease and diabetes. The second program targets members who are inconsistent with their medications for certain chronic conditions. These programs expand IBC's award-winning Connections(SM) Health Management Program, delivered in collaboration with Health Dialog.

"Chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are very costly, not only to those who have them, but to all of us," said Dr. Es Nash, senior medical director at IBC. "These diseases may be preventable and are treatable. We must encourage our members to receive proper treatment, and remain consistent with their medications in order to avoid complications or relapses of their condition. We strive to help our members get on the path to healthier lifestyles now, in the hopes that they will lessen their chance of developing, or worsening, serious and costly health conditions."

The Cardiometabolic Risk Management Program teaches members about their varying symptoms of heart disease and diabetes and the behavior and lifestyle changes that may help prevent these diseases and help them lead healthier lives. Cardiometabolic risk factors that increase a person's overall chance of developing heart disease and diabetes include: tobacco use, high body mass index, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. IBC members who are identified with these symptoms are eligible for the program. Based on the severity of one's condition, a member who smokes or is overweight may also be invited to join an intensive weight management or smoking cessation program to help him better manage the condition.

IBC's second new program, the Medication Persistence program, targets members who are not consistently taking certain prescribed medications for coronary heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, and hypertension. Health coaches will work with these members to discover any barriers they may be facing that keep them from taking the proper medication at the proper dosage on a regular basis.

Health coaches are health professionals with an average of 10 to 15 years of clinical experience, who are trained in helping people manage chronic conditions by providing evidence-based information and support. They also encourage members to talk to their doctor about their condition and experiences with their prescribed medications. A recent member satisfaction survey showed that 88 percent of IBC members with a chronic condition, and 95 percent of non-chronic members, report being "Very satisfied" or "Satisfied" with their health coach experience, and 90 percent said they would recommend their health plan to family and friends.

IBC's Connections Health Management Program is designed to help members become better informed health care consumers. Through the program, members with chronic conditions such as diabetes, lung or breathing problems, or heart conditions can learn how to improve their health and overall quality of life. In addition, the program supports members who are facing a significant medical decision, as well as members who have everyday health concerns, by providing 24-hour access to health coaches.

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 more than 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. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. More information about Independence Blue Cross is available at www.ibx.com.

About Health Dialog

Health Dialog is a leading provider of healthcare analytics and decision support. The firm is a private, wholly-owned subsidiary of Bupa, a global provider of healthcare services. Health Dialog helps healthcare payors improve healthcare quality while reducing overall costs. Company offerings include health coaching for medical decisions, chronic conditions, and wellness; population analytic solutions; and consulting services. Health Dialog helps individuals participate in their own healthcare decisions, develop more effective relationships with their physicians, and live healthier, happier lives. For more information please visit www.healthdialog.com.


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SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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