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November is National Diabetes Month; BlueChoice HealthPlan Shows Good Outcomes for South Carolina Diabetics

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 General News J E 4
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COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov. 13 In observance of National DiabetesMonth this month, BlueChoice(R) HealthPlan of South Carolina continues to aida large number of diabetics in South Carolina through its GreatExpectations(R)+ for health Diabetes program.

In 2005, the latest year for which statistics are available, 8.8 percentof South Carolinians had diabetes. Of these, 13,436 were enrolled in theGreat Expectations for health Diabetes program, which assisted them in bettermanaging their disease.

In operation since 1994, the program features on-staff nurses, dietitiansand health educators. Based on their risk level, members are sent educationmaterials, reminders about needed care, letters alerting them when lab valuesare elevated, glucose monitors, telephone-based counseling, and in-depth casemanagement. The program also communicates with members' doctors, if needed.

"Probably the biggest barriers to diabetic care are lack of knowledge orunderstanding about self-care, and this leads to their lack of adherence tomedical management. Our program enhances what the doctor wants to achieve forour members and has had great results," said Beth Parris, Great Expectationsfor health Diabetes program administrator.

Outcomes between 2004 and 2006 showed that participating BlueChoiceHealthPlan members benefited by managing their diabetes better, and thisresulted in fewer emergency room visits and hospital admissions and moreappropriate use of medication. In addition, the overwhelming majority statedthat the program had improved their quality of life and reduced their sickdays from work.

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina(http://www.BlueChoiceSC.com) is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueCrossBlueShield of South Carolina, and both are independent licensees of the BlueCross and Blue Shield Association. BlueChoice HealthPlan has an A+ ratingfrom A.M. Best and an Excellent accreditation status, the highest levelawarded, from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). BlueChoiceHealthPlan has more than 7,000 physicians in its statewide network and servesapproximately 212,000 members statewide. It offers four group health plansand one individual plan for children.

(R)Registered mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

(R)+Registered mark of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.Some facts about diabetes: -- More than 57 percent of diabetics have one or more complications from the disease. -- In 2006, $23 billion was spent on the costs associated with treating these complications. -- Health care costs for people with complications are three times higher than the average American's costs. -- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure (end-stage renal disease), requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. -- Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults ages 20-74. -- Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die of heart disease or have a stroke than non-diabetics. -- Diabetes accounts for 44 percent of new, end-stage renal disease cases. -- More than 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur among people with diabetes.

SOURCE BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina
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