CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A program to help older adults with end-of-life planning earned BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee a Bronze Award from URAC at its recent Best Practices in Health Care Consumer Protection and Empowerment Awards program in Chicago.

URAC is an independent, nonprofit organization, well known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation, education and measurement programs.

“End of life planning is a sensitive issue, but very important for everyone,” said Dr. Barbara Beeler, BlueCross medical director for government programs. “Many of us don’t like to think about the end of our lives, but participants in the program tell us making those plans gives them and their loved ones peace of mind.”

Blue Cross’ Quality Management department made a presentation about the program and answered questions during a session at the URAC Quality Summit.

BlueCross’ End of Life Planning program 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 has its 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.

Entries in the URAC awards process were evaluated by more than two dozen 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, including whether the program was measurable, if it was reproducible and delivered through a collaborative approach. Honors were awarded in the categories of Consumer Decision-Making and Consumer Health Improvement.

“Our Best Practices awards program is a unique celebration of innovative health care management programs. These organizations have implemented leading-edge programs that have made a difference in the lives of the consumers they serve with demonstrable results that matter,” said Alan P. Spielman, president and CEO of URAC. “This year’s winners are recognized for their leadership in delivering on the promise of a quality health care system that puts consumers first.”

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.

About URAC

URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is well-known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation, education and measurement programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate 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 establishing meaningful quality measures for the entire health care industry. For more information, visit www.urac.org.