Existing Puget Sound Health Alliance Community Checkup Information Now Available to BCBSA Members Nationally

SEATTLE, WA – (May 27, 2010) – Premera Blue Cross and Regence BlueShield, the state’s largest health plans, announced today that Puget Sound-area clinical quality results that has been available locally as part of the Puget Sound Health Alliance Community Checkup Report, is now available through the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s (BCBSA) National Provider Finder tool. This information will assist Blue Plan members who live in or visit the Puget Sound area in making health care decisions.

“This will be a helpful tool for Blue Plan members as they seek health care in this region,” said
Roki Chauhan, M.D., Premera chief medical officer and senior vice president of Integrated Health Management. “Having collaborated with prominent medical groups to publish the region’s first online Quality Score Card in 2004, we know that health plan members ask for clinical quality information on providers. This tool is one step in that direction.”

Said Joe Gifford, M.D., Regence senior medical director, “We have been pleased to provide our local Puget Sound community with useful clinical quality information in partnership with the Puget Sound Health Alliance. Expanding the availability of this information to Blue Plan members nationally through the BCBSA Provider Finder tool will help more people make informed health care decisions that can lead to better health outcomes and lower costs.”

Regence and Premera participate in the Puget Sound Health Alliance, a regional partnership involving employers, labor trusts, physicians, hospitals, patients, health plans, and others working together to improve quality and efficiency while reducing the rate of healthcare cost increases across King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties.  Integrating the publicly available Community Checkup results into the BCBSA National Provider Finder tool expands the exposure of the work the collaborative is doing to a broader audience.

“Consumers benefit when they have access to objective information about quality and appropriateness to help them make decisions,” said Mary O. McWilliams, executive director of the Puget Sound Health Alliance. “We’re gratified that the BCBSA recognized the value of the information that the Alliance has collected and chose to include it in the National Provider Finder tool for its members.”

The Puget Sound Health Alliance has been publishing the Community Checkup report since 2008. The most recent version of the Community Checkup includes results from 76 medical groups and nearly 240 clinics of four or more clinicians in the five-county area.

BCBSA is looking to add clinical quality information for provider groups across the country.  Regence and Premera are the first Blue Plans in the country to submit and publish these measurement results on the BCBSA National Provider Finder, with other Blue Plans across the country joining in future phases of development. The BCBSA National Provider Finder website address is http://provider.bcbs.com/. The Community Checkup website address is http://www.wacommunitycheckup.org/

About Premera Blue Cross
Our mission is to provide peace of mind to our members about their healthcare coverage. We provide health coverage and related services to more than 1.4 million people. Premera Blue Cross has operated in Washington since 1933, and Alaska since 1957. Premera Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Premera Blue Cross is a member of a family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, that provide health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, and other related products and services.

For more information, please visit www.premera.com.

About Regence BlueShield:
Regence BlueShield is a leading health plan in Washington with more than one million members, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest / Intermountain Region, serving more than 2.5 million members as Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington), Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah. Each plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com or www.twitter.com/RegenceWA.