CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — This week, two BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee employees gave presentations in Washington, D.C. at Capitol Hill briefings attended by members of Congress and their staff. The panels focused on successful initiatives to improve quality of care and employee wellness programs.

Dr. Thomas Lundquist, vice president, performance measurement and improvement, presented a variety of innovative programs supported by BlueCross to improve quality of care while working to develop a more sustainable care structure. Featured programs include a focus on transparency of quality and cost data, the Patient-Centered Medical Home initiative, already the largest in Tennessee – and still expanding – and the movement toward Accountable Care Organizations.

Special attention was given to BlueCross’ collaborative efforts across the state, with initiatives like the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety. Quantifiable results of this program show improvement in quality of hospital-based care alongside reduced cost with a positive return on investment.

“We are helping promote primary care transformation through our Medical Homes statewide and to promote safer hospitals through our funding of the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety. This supports our mission to provide affordable, quality care to all Tennesseans,” said Dr. Lundquist. “By highlighting our success stories and best practices at these briefings, we encourage our leaders in Washington D.C. to further support similar innovative programs to improve our health care systems for providers and the outcomes for patients.”

Ryan Picarella, manager of corporate wellness, discussed BlueCross’ wellness and prevention efforts, which include on-site fitness programs, healthy nutrition options and online health coaching, as well as their quantifiable results, at a Congressional Wellness Caucus briefing.

An analysis of data aggregated over a four-year period from more than 5,000 BlueCross employee participants found that 47.6 percent improved their cholesterol, 38.7 percent lost weight and 26.7 percent quit smoking. BlueCross believes these health outcomes will ultimately result in cost savings on future claims and that its success with on-site programs can lead the way for other companies who want to help their employees lead healthier lives.

Additional information regarding BlueCross’ programs to support better health in Tennessee can be found at www.bcbst.com/about/community/ .

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.