CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Volunteer State Health Plan (VSHP), a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has achieved record health screening rates for its TennCare youth population. With a 95 percent rate among BlueCare® members and 92 percent for TennCareSelect, VSHP has set an all-time company high for Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Checkups (EPSDT).

The EPSDT program, better known as TENNderCare, is a free preventive health program designed for TennCare members from birth up until 21 years of age. The program includes a well-child exam consisting of things like a comprehensive physical and needed immunizations. Additionally, the program comprises well-child services such as follow-up care and referral to a specialist if needed.

According to Shelia Keith, manager of medical information management for VSHP, EPSDT screenings are vital to preventing illnesses and detecting health problems early. Beyond the health benefits, cost savings can be realized by avoiding more complex, hence costly care.

"We’ve worked diligently to implement strategies that would increase these screening rates," Keith said. "Although we’re proud of this accomplishment, we’ll keep pushing for 100 percent participation, which will help ensure that every child in VSHP’s TENNderCare programs has an opportunity for a healthy life."

In an attempt to further increase the screening rates, VSHP will launch a pilot EPSDT outreach program in select Tennessee schools this fall. With the help of school health coordinators and key administration, VSHP will work to educate and motivate youth to get their annual well-child screenings.

EPSDT is a federally mandated Medicaid program. Screening rates for VSHP were measured from May 2006 to April 2007 using the same methodology as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Bureau of TennCare set the goal for EPSDT screening rates at 80 percent for the managed care organizations (MCOs).

About Volunteer State Health Plan (VSHP)

Volunteer State Health Plan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Founded in 1993, the Chattanooga-based company focuses on managing care and providing quality health care products, services, and information for government programs. VSHP currently serves more than 300,000 members.

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.