CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Efforts by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to comply with the new HIPAA Privacy Rule have resulted in the company’s accreditation by URAC, a leading health care accrediting organization.

BlueCross is among the nation’s first 21 health care organizations, and the only insurer in Tennessee, to receive accreditation for its HIPAA privacy initiatives.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, passed into law in August of 1996. Its primary focus is to protect health insurance coverage and ensure the security and privacy of health data.

"BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has always looked to the best interest of our members and part of that commitment is protecting their privacy,” said Tena Roberson, privacy officer for BlueCross. “We’re very proud to have met the challenging and complex demands of HIPAA and to have received this honor from URAC.”

URAC’s HIPAA Privacy Accreditation program is designed to help health care organizations demonstrate their compliance with HIPAA standards and to show their commitment to fair information practices and secure information delivery systems.

"Achieving URAC HIPAA Privacy Accreditation is a great accomplishment for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and speaks to the quality of their HIPAA compliance program," said Garry Carneal, URAC president and CEO. "URAC is pleased to have launched a third-party evaluation program that helps health care organizations validate their HIPAA compliance efforts internally and to external stakeholders such as the government, professional liability insurers, consumers and other interested parties."

BlueCross was awarded a two-year URAC accreditation certificate for its HIPAA compliance program. The reaccreditation review is held every two years.

URAC, a charitable, nonprofit organization, is a leader in promoting health care quality through accreditation and certification programs. URAC’s standards keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, and provide a mark of distinction for health care organizations to demonstrate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in setting meaningful standards for the health care industry. For more information, visit www.urac.org.

For more information about BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee or the company’s HIPAA initiatives, visit the “About Us” section on www.bcbst.com.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.