INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — WellPoint, Inc., (NYSE: WLP) today announced it has been awarded Silver and Honorable Mention honors for Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection by URAC, a leading health care accreditation organization. The awards recognize industry achievements in advancing the role of consumers as active participants in their health care through heightened awareness and education.
“URAC’s Best Practices awards program is a unique celebration of innovative health care management programs. These organizations have implemented leading 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.”
WellPoint received the Silver Award for the MyHealth Advantage member messaging program and honorable mentions for the Imaging Cost and Quality Program and the Emergency Room Utilization Management Initiative, which are available to members in select health plans.
“Helping people understand that they play a vital role in their health care and providing the resources they need to get quality, affordable care when they need it and in the right setting is our top priority. This recognition underscores our companywide commitment to continuous improvement and highlights our associates’ hard work and ingenuity in developing programs that empower consumers to make better decisions about their health care,” said Sam Nussbaum, M.D., chief medical officer for WellPoint.
The MyHealth Advantage program involves clinical messaging to members and physicians that leads to improved evidence-based compliance, better member health and a potential reduction in avoidable costs. For instance, members taking a prescription medication may receive messages to restart that medication if they are not adhering to the prescribed regimen or to stop taking a medication that is contraindicated. A study on the program demonstrated that messaging both members and physicians about gaps in clinical care significantly improves compliance with medical care guidelines.
The Emergency Room Utilization Management Initiative helps members find information through online search engines, interactive calls and print brochures. This educational information assists members in knowing what conditions may be treated at a retail health clinic or urgent care centers and their out-of-pocket costs associated with each. A pilot study conducted by HealthCore Inc. in Virginia demonstrated a 14 percent decrease in ER visits for those who participated in the program compared with those who did not.
The Imaging Cost and Quality Program uses technology from WellPoint subsidiary American Imaging Management (AIM) to proactively identify members whose health care providers have recommended they receive an imaging service such as an MRI or CT scan. The program calls those members to offer them an opportunity to switch to a high-quality but lower-cost facility, promoting quality care and transparency while enabling them to use their health care dollars more wisely.
Additionally, WellPoint associate, Patricia Moreno, a health promotion consultant working in its state sponsored business division, received a URAC Health Care Stars! award. This individual honor recognizes Moreno’s work in promoting the welfare of health care consumers by helping to improve lives and prevent adverse health outcomes.
Entries were judged by a distinguished 20-member panel of prestigious, independent judges including 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.
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our members and our communities, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation’s largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership, with 34 million members in its affiliated health plans, and a total of more than 69 million individuals served through its subsidiaries.
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 http://www.urac.org/.
SOURCE: WellPoint, Inc