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Press Release

IBC Showcases First-Year Results of PA Medical Home Initiative at Annual Health Industry Conference

Results include improved patient compliance with key tests and greater physician satisfaction

Philadelphia, PA - June 4, 2009 - Independence Blue Cross (IBC) Senior Vice President of Health Services Richard Snyder, M.D. today highlighted the first-year results from Pennsylvania's Chronic Care Collaborative to health insurance executives and industry professionals attending America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) annual conference. IBC has the largest number of covered members participating in the collaborative.

Launched last May in southeastern Pennsylvania, the collaborative is a patient-centered medical home model that seeks to revolutionize the management of chronic disease through a more personalized, team approach to primary care medicine. The intent is to help patients manage their chronic conditions before health problems get out of control, and to move away from a health system that reacts to acute illness and toward one that prevents it. The collaborative's goal is to save more than a billion dollars in avoidable hospital admissions over a three-year period.

In addition to Dr. Snyder, two other medical experts spoke about the benefits of medical homes: Dr. Paul Grundy, director of Healthcare Transformation at IBM, and founder of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative; and Dr. Renée Jenkins, immediate past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

After one year, there were notable improvements in compliance with important health metrics among practices participating in the collaborative. For example, 33% more diabetics got control of their blood sugars, 40% more got control of cholesterol, 25% more got control of their blood pressure, and 71% more got diabetic eye exams.

"We're pleased and excited about the progress we've made in our first year to improve patient compliance with key metrics," said Dr. Snyder. "We're equally excited about the enthusiasm of the participating practices who tell us how much they appreciate the support they've received, and the ability to practice medicine the way they believe it was meant to be practiced."

The southeastern Pennsylvania collaborative is the first of seven similar programs that will be launched in Pennsylvania by year end.

How the PA Chronic Care Collaborative works

The collaborative includes 32 primary care practices with more than 150 doctors treating 220,000 patients. The practices use a team approach to provide better-coordinated care - more fluid scheduling so that a patient may see a physician as soon as a problem develops; secure email exchanges between patients and doctors to allow fast, direct communication; and an electronic patient registry that alerts doctors to any gaps in care. Also integral to the model are onsite health educators who help change chronically ill patients' behavior by making sure they receive key tests, take prescribed medications, and generally take better care of themselves.

The participating physicians attend quarterly training programs on improving the way they deliver care to achieve the model's expectations, which are based on the principles of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Physicians.

In addition to Independence Blue Cross, several other health care companies are funding the program. Primary care practices are paid for attending training sessions, and they are reimbursed for initial investments to set up any new systems or hire additional staff. At this point, 28 of the 32 practices have been recognized by NCQA for their adoption of the principles of the Patient Centered Medical Home. More information on this recognition and a listing of the practices is available through www.recognition.ncqa.org.

There is also a compilation of medical home pilot and demonstration projects.

About the AHIP Institute conference

Thousands of health industry leaders are expected to attend AHIP's Institute conference this year in San Diego, California. The three-day conference includes a host of notable keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities.

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.

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