Vicky Gregg, CEO of BlueCross Blueshield of Tennessee, told members of the Chattanooga Rotary Club on Thursday that BlueCross has been working over the past two decades on innovative ways to improve health and curb costs.
She said a decision was made that the insurance giant would not just process claims, but take a pro-active stance toward bettering the health of its customers.
Ms. Gregg, who is retiring at the end of the year, said the effort has brought a "dramatic transformation" and improved the health of many of those across the state. Yet, she said much progress remains to be made as Tennessee continues to be far down the list in many health categories. She said one of those in infant mortality and morbidity. In some Tennessee zip codes, those rates are worse than in Third World Countries, she said.
She said BlueCross employes many "health coaches" who work with individual subscribers. She said, "One small change in lifestyle can mean big results for a lifetime."
Also, she said many medical professionals, including pharmacists, are at work analyzing claims and the treatment given subscribers.
Ms. Gregg said over 100 physicians are involved in "patient-center medical homes" where patients have a "one-stop shop" for all their medical needs and where medical records are freely shared between departments.
And, she said, BlueCross is in a five-year collaboration with a hospital in Memphis regarding new billing methods, including "bundling".
She said BlueCross this year contributed over $8 million to the work of the Tennessee Health Foundation, which she said has helped bring a sharp decrease in hospital infections.
Ms. Gregg said BlueCross has set up its own health institute, where medical outcomes are closely analyzed. She said those records are shared with others.