Columbia, S.C. -- Dr. Laura Long, vice president of clinical quality and health management at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, will address a national conference this week on "Outcomes and Lessons Learned from a One Year Pharmacy Pilot" in which subsidiary company BlueChoice® HealthPlan and its members were the focus.
The pilot was tied to "value-based" health plan design, which engages consumers, increases compliance with recommended guidelines and physician treatment plans, reduces or eliminates financial barriers for evidence-based highly valued treatments, and lowers overall medical costs.
In August 2006, an executive order called for federal agencies purchasing health care to improve the quality and efficiency of health care through: the use of interoperable health information technology, transparency of quality, transparency of price, and incentives for high-value health care. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt then challenged U.S. employers/purchasers to adopt these "Four Cornerstones of Value-Driven Health Care" and develop strategies to speed implementation. Value-based benefit design meets the requirements for the fourth cornerstone: incentives for high-value health care.
The BlueChoice HealthPlan pilot, which reviewed the impact of lowering copayments for brand medications for diabetes, asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) was conducted in South Carolina for several reasons: chronic disease is a major driver of medical costs, associated absenteeism and presenteeism costs are even higher than medical costs, the obesity epidemic suggests this problem will only worsen (29.2 percent of adults, 28 percent of caucasian children, 48 percent of African-American children are overweight or obese in South Carolina), and chronic disease management can improve outcomes and lower costs.
Dr. Long will deliver her remarks to the National Managed Markets Summit being held this week in Chandler, Ariz. She most recently represented S.C. BlueCross at the State of Our Health Forum held Sept. 16 in Columbia, S.C.
The 2008 National Managed Markets Summit (www.pinsonault.com) is an opportunity to examine the future of U.S. health care, and to assess how organizations plan to respond. Participants choose from more than 100 breakout sessions facilitated by distinguished faculty from managed care, specialty pharmacies, employers, health care delivery systems, government and academia.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and its family of companies include more than 20 subsidiaries involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health plan and Medicare contracts, and other insurance and employee benefits services.
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