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Independence Blue Cross and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Reach Seven-Year Agreement
Date:3/4/2008

PHILADELPHIA, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia announced today that they have reached a new seven-year agreement. A term of this length is unusual in this market and a first in the history of this key partnership. The extended contract will strengthen the effective and long-standing relationship between Independence and Children's Hospital, serving the special health care needs of children in the Philadelphia region. The new agreement's term begins July 1, 2008, and continues through June 30, 2015.

"This landmark agreement reinforces our shared commitment to providing high quality health care and ensures that the doors to Children's Hospital will continue to be open to our members' children," said Joseph A. Frick, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. "This relationship allows us to provide access to a remarkable institution which, year after year, is recognized as one of the most widely-respected children's hospitals and research facilities in the world."

Frick noted that Children's Hospital was ranked in 2007 as the best hospital for children for the fifth consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report.

"Independence Blue Cross and Children's Hospital share similar philosophies about improving health care for the community and collaborating on quality of care in ways that will benefit hundreds of thousands of children's lives," Frick said. "We are very pleased that the new contract calls out this significant commitment to quality and we will monitor and measure our joint collaboration on projects that will address children's health care issues, such as asthma, juvenile diabetes, and childhood obesity."

"We are pleased to continue our long-term, solid relationship with Independence Blue Cross and our joint commitment to serving children in our community," said Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., president and CEO of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Our new contract builds on the success of our current contract with Independence Blue Cross. As an international leader in quality pediatric care, Children's Hospital offers Independence Blue Cross members our state-of-the-art facilities and our comprehensive network of more than 3,000 specialists and primary care physicians."

"Because of the professionalism of our long-standing partnership with Children's Hospital, we were able to quickly reach mutual agreement on fair terms well in advance of the end of our current contract," said I. Steven Udvarhelyi, M.D., Independence Blue Cross's chief medical officer. "We look forward to continuing to work closely with Children's Hospital and its physicians, offering high-quality, safe health care to our members' children."

Dr. Udvarhelyi noted that the new agreement encompasses all of Children's Hospital's health care provider facilities and services, including primary care physicians and the complete array of physician specialties and home care at their main campus and at their specialty care and ambulatory surgery centers, and Kids First offices and Primary Care Centers. This also includes professional services provided through CHOP Connection, a network of inpatient pediatric units located in five local community hospitals -- Abington Memorial Hospital, Chester County Hospital, Grand View Hospital, Lehigh Valley Hospital, and Shore Memorial Hospital -- and through CHOP Newborn Care, a network of neonatal intensive care units located in six hospitals -- The Chester County Hospital, Chestnut Hill Hospital, Doylestown Hospital, Holy Redeemer Hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, and Phoenixville Hospital.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania, providing coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For 70 years, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates have 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. For more information, visit http://www.ibx.com.


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SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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