Chicago, IL, Aug. 26 /CSRwire/ - Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies around the country collectively devoted more than $363 million to support community health initiatives in 2013, and their employees volunteered more than 370,361 hours to community service, according to “Investing in America’s Health,” a report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).
The sixth annual report demonstrates the 37 BCBS companies’ commitment to creating healthier communities nationwide.
“Across every ZIP code in the U.S., nearly one in three Americans rely on Blue Cross and Blue Shield for access to safe, quality and affordable healthcare,” said Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “With local roots in every community, Blue companies are uniquely positioned to create and maintain lasting partnerships with doctors, hospitals, schools and other organizations to help create stronger, healthier communities.”
By working alongside local physicians and hospitals, BCBS companies help deliver better quality and more affordable care. They provide leadership and help fund local programs that improve the health and wellness of more than 105 million members and their communities. This collective support demonstrates The Power of Blue and its three focus areas: improving access to healthcare, improving healthcare quality and affordability, and enabling healthier living.
Improving Access to Healthcare
BCBS companies are working to address a predicted shortage of tens of thousands of medical professionals by 2025. In an effort to ensure Americans have access to physicians, nurses, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, BCBS companies are investing in education and development programs for America’s healthcare workforce. BCBS companies also support local clinics that provide services in underserved areas.
Improving Healthcare Quality and Affordability
The Blues® are developing innovative tools and programs to improve the quality of care and help make it affordable for all Americans. Today, BCBS companies are leading a shift toward care delivery programs that provide incentives for better health outcomes for patients while reducing costly duplication and waste in care delivery. About one in five claim dollars are now spent in these new models, with more than 24 million BCBS members in 350 locally tailored programs that reward doctors for better coordinated care and improved health outcomes.
BCBS companies also recognize medical facilities that demonstrate proven expertise in delivering safe, effective and cost-efficient care through the Blue Distinction® program.
Additionally, BCBSA’s Center for Clinical Effectiveness assesses the effectiveness of medical devices, procedures and biological products through comprehensive reviews and clinical evidence.
Enabling Healthier Living
With a commitment to improving the health and wellness of the communities they serve, BCBS companies provide a variety of resources to organizations, schools, families and individuals to help create a healthier living environment.
A key focus is reversing the trend of childhood obesity. In collaboration with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), BCBS companies in 10 cities hosted more than 72,000 people at 48 events in 2013. These events gave communities a place to play by closing roads to traffic and opening them up for families to jump, run and stay active.
BCBS companies also work alongside local chapters of national charitable organizations that share their vision of a healthier America. BCBS employees donated $8.9 million to community and social causes and volunteered 370,361 hours by building playgrounds, working in community gardens, bringing meals to the homeless, organizing community walks to support non-profits, mentoring students, donating blood and serving on boards.
“For 85 years, the locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have been committed to improving health and wellness in the communities they serve,” Serota said. “They devote valuable resources to help create healthier communities — not just for members, but for every American.”
To learn more about how BCBS companies are improving the health and wellness of members and their communities through The Power of Blue
, view the report at www.bcbs.com/investingincommunities
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one in three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog for up-to-date information about BCBSA.