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Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Supports National Patient Safety Awareness Week

Thursday, March 11, 2010 General News J E 4
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CHICAGO, March 9 In a concerted, nationwide effort to highlight the importance of improving patient safety, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is joining the National Patient Safety Foundation and other leading healthcare organizations in recognition of Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 7-13.

"The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the nation's 39 independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies want to encourage and strengthen collaboration between themselves, consumers and healthcare providers to improve patient safety," said Allan Korn, M.D., BCBSA senior vice president and chief medical officer. "As a system that covers nearly 100 million Americans, the Blues have a unique opportunity to help transform tomorrow's healthcare delivery system and enact meaningful improvements in patient safety and clinical outcomes."

BCBSA and the Blues have implemented several new initiatives to improve patient safety, including the Blue Surgical Safety Checklist, the first in a series of resources created to educate and encourage providers and consumers to take proactive measures to help improve safety in the healthcare setting. The checklist, adopted from the World Health Organization Surgical Checklist, consists of 19 steps designed to improve communication and consistency of care within surgical teams. Additional consumer and provider-focused Blue Patient Safety Checklists will be rolled out later in the year.

In 2010, the Blues will continue to focus on identifying opportunities to empower members and engage providers in adopting protocols that improve safety for patients. Several Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have initiatives underway, such as working with hospitals to reduce infection rates. Additionally, BCBSA has a Blue system-wide reimbursement policy that prohibits reimbursement to contracted acute care hospitals for hospital acquired conditions or "never events" - serious events or medical errors that are clearly identifiable and preventable.

"Clear and open communication between patient and provider is at the very core of safe patient care, and is a vital component in keeping patients safe as they move through the healthcare system," said Diane C. Pinakiewicz, MBA, president, National Patient Safety Foundation. "We commend the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association for its leadership role in providing patients and their physicians with effective tools that ultimately can save lives."

To find out how the Blues are helping to improve patient safety, and download a copy of the Blue Surgical Safety Checklist, visit www.bcbs.com/bluepatientsafety.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 100 million members - one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
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