; Applications Now Available For BlueCHIP® Awards Program Recognizing Healthy Kansas Communities
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Press Release

Applications Now Available For BlueCHIP® Awards Program Recognizing Healthy Kansas Communities

October 16, 2013

TOPEKA – Program expanded to award six communities with $2,500 each Kansas communities that are promoting healthier environments for their residents are encouraged to apply by Dec. 10 for an award from the BlueCHIP ® community health improvement program. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) and Kansas Recreation and Park Association (KRPA) have not only renewed their BlueCHIP partnership for a fourth year, but have also expanded the awards program to recognize six communities. Each of the six winning communities will receive $2,500 to assist them in furthering their health and wellness efforts.

BlueCHIP awards recognize and reward Kansas communities that encourage and support healthy lifestyles through programs, initiatives, policies and/or community-wide events. Previous BlueCHIP awards have been presented to Derby, Great Bend, Greensburg, Grinnell, Hutchinson, Lawrence, Manhattan, Parsons, Salina and Wichita.

This year's awards program has three categories – small community (10,000 or fewer residents); medium community (10,001 to 20,000 residents) and large community (20,001 or more residents). Applications and additional information are available on the KRPA website at www.krpa.org. The awards will be presented in January 2014 at the KRPA annual conference in Wichita.

“Past BlueCHIP winners have proven that strides can be made in improving the collective health and well-being of a community when local leaders and volunteers work together to create a health-focused environment," said Marlou Wegener, BCBSKS manager of community relations. "We are pleased to continue this partnership with the Kansas Recreation and Park Association and to expand the program to recognize and assist more communities.”

According to Bonnie Simon, KRPA membership/education services coordinator, the selection committee seeks to recognize communities that have programs or initiatives in place that support clean air, healthy food choices, lowering the incidence of obesity and increasing physical activity.

“For the past three years, the BlueCHIP application process has proven that organizations and volunteers in so many Kansas communities are working collaboratively to improve the quality of life for their residents, and I have no doubt this year's group of applicants will be equally impressive,” Simon said. "KRPA is pleased to extend and expand this partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas so we can continue to encourage, acknowledge and reward communities for improving the well-being of their citizens.”

For a fourth year, the BlueCHIP selection committee will be comprised of representatives from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Healthy Schools, Kansas State Department of Education, KRPA and BCBSKS.

For more information on the BlueCHIP awards program or to learn how to apply, contact Simon at (785) 235-6533 or by e-mail to bonnie@KRPA.org.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
For more than 70 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit www.bcbsks.com.

About Kansas Recreation and Park Association
Kansas Recreation and Park Association is a non-profit, professional corporation dedicated to the promotion of healthy lifestyles in Kansas communities through the wise use of recreation and stewardship of parks and natural resources. KRPA is comprised of citizens and park and recreation professionals who serve millions of Kansans and tourists at parks, open spaces and recreation facilities, and through healthy programs for children, adults and senior citizens.

The Blue Cross and 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 nearly 100 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit 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.