CHICAGO – Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies around the country collectively contributed more than $356 million in community health-related investments and their employees volunteered more than 108,600 hours throughout the U.S. in 2012, according to “Investing in America’s Health,” a report by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The annual report demonstrates the 37 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ commitment to creating healthier communities across the country.
“For more than 80 years, the locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have been committed to improving health and wellness in the communities they serve,” said Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. “The Blues® provide valuable resources to schools, community organizations, families and individuals, to help create healthier communities — not just for their 100 million members, but for every American.”
The Blues work alongside local physicians and hospitals to deliver better quality and more affordable care. They provide leadership and help fund local programs that improve the health and wellness of their 100 million members and their communities. This collective support demonstrates The Power of Blue and its three focus areas: improving health care access, improving health care quality and safety and enabling healthier living.
Improving Health Care Access
With a presence in every zip code, BCBS companies help Americans gain access to the care they need by supporting critical safety net and financial assistance programs – facilitating access to care for millions of families and individuals nationwide. BCBS companies supported charitable health coverage programs and medical financial assistance initiatives as well as public programs including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Improving Health Care Quality and Safety
BCBS companies invest in programs and partnerships that specifically support the improvement of health care quality and safety. This includes medical research and health professional training programs to build a strong front-line team of future doctors, nurses and other health care providers. Additionally, BCBSA’s Technology Evaluation Center (TEC) assesses the effectiveness of medical devices, procedures and biological products through comprehensive reviews and clinical evidence. TEC provides health care decision makers with timely, objective and scientifically rigorous assessments that synthesize the available evidence on the diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention of disease.
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.
One strong area of focus among the Blues is reversing the trend of childhood obesity. In collaboration with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), BCBS companies in 10 states hosted more than 40 events in 2013 that 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 are partnering with the Department of Health and Human Service’s Million Hearts initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Using nationwide data on heart health, the Blues will work alongside doctors, hospitals, and public health leaders to launch interventions in communities with the highest rates of hypertension.
The BCBSA continues its sponsorship of Second Opinion, an award-winning PBS Television program dedicated to health literacy and improving communication and interaction between physicians and their patients.
BCBS companies also work alongside local chapters of national charitable organizations that share their vision of a healthier America. BCBS employees volunteered more than 108,600 hours by building play grounds, working in community gardens, bringing meals to the homeless, organizing community walks to support non-profits, mentoring students, donating blood and serving on boards.
“The Blues are committed to making a national impact through local support of these and similar efforts — efforts that demonstrate The Power of Blue, a commitment to American communities unrivaled by any other health insurer,” said Laura Lundin, director of corporate social responsibility for BCBSA.
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.