CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee was selected as one of 30 national finalists for the Best Practices in Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection Awards. URAC, the nation’s leading accreditation organization, will honor the finalists during its 11th Annual Quality Summit, Oct. 5-7, 2010 in Chicago, IL.

BlueCross was honored for its End of Life Planning program, which works to guide seniors through the end-of-life process and enable senior members to make their own decisions when it comes to end-of-life care. By reaching out to seniors and their families before there is an issue, as well as engaging their physicians in a collaborative effort, the program ensures this population gets their wishes met.

BlueCross’ senior care division trained case managers in how to respectfully approach these sensitive issues and designed a system to empower these members with education, resources and care management assistance to complete life care planning documents.

BlueCross’ program was selected by a distinguished panel of judges out of entries from across the nation. Finalists are invited to present their winning programs at the Annual Quality Summit which will showcase best practices in two categories: Consumer Decision-Making and Consumer Health Improvement.

"Many of our Medicare Advantage members have no formal plans outlining their choices for end of life care. We believe that everyone should have the right to decide how to manage this difficult time in life," said Dr. Barbara Beeler, medical director for government programs for BlueCross. "The purpose of this program is to guide members in developing plans to fit their own needs, not to advocate any particular decision."

"The Annual Quality Summit provides a unique opportunity for leaders in health care to learn what premier companies are doing to advance consumer protection and empowerment,” said Alan P. Spielman, President and CEO of URAC. “It is a one-of-a-kind conference, designed to inspire the industry as a whole to rapidly adopt proven practices that advance patient safety and empower consumers with improved decision-making tools."

Entries were judged by a distinguished panel chaired by epidemiologist Thomas W. Wilson, Ph.D, DrPH, Trajectory HealthCare, LLC. The 30-member panel included the best and most widely recognized experts in program evaluation, care coordination, health information technology, employer and purchaser decision making and patient safety. Entries were reviewed and scored by the judges based on objective criteria.

All finalists are invited to attend a special event during the conference, when they will discover how they will be distinguished as award winners. Gold, Silver, Bronze and Honorable Mention Award winners in each of the six organization categories will be announced at the dinner. Platinum Award winners will also be announced in the two topic categories.

About the Senior Care Division, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s senior care division serves many of the state’s Medicare beneficiaries through its Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D products and services. Its mission is to deliver creative, simple solutions that preserve health and enhance life. This is achieved by use of health information technology, health coaching, care management and an array of programs and products that help drive improved quality and work to keep costs affordable for its members. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit www.bcbst-medicare.com.