Blue Cross of California again generously awarded for its dynamic telemedicine policy

Thousand Oaks 01 November 1999The Blue Cross of California (BCC), the California subsidiary of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., has received a significant grant and two prestigious awards for its outstanding care for rural, low-income patients. The first award is a $1.2 million grant from the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board's (MRMIB) Healthy Families Programme to implement a variety of rural community health programmes. Blue Cross of California received funding for 13 of 16 proposals it submitted to MRMIB.


The grant will help Blue Cross of California establish additional telemedicine sites in locations with high populations of seasonal and migrant farm workers, largely expand mental-health and substance-abuse recovery availability in rural areas, and also add more mobile health visits through a "Health on Wheels" programme. This grant is crucial to helping BCC ensure that Healthy Families Programme and Medi-Cal families receive quality and technologically advanced medical care without having to leave their communities, according to John Monahan, general manager of State Sponsored Programmes, Blue Cross of California.

Two awards come from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), honouring Blue Cross of California for its Innovations and Best Practice in medical and pharmacy management. The two programmes recognised by the national awards programme are "See a Specialist Across the Street, or Across the State: A Telemedicine Demonstration Project", in the innovations category, and "Community Resource Centres: Facilitating Plan Provider Interface", in the provider relationships category.

Blue Cross of California continues to develop new methods to expand care to lower-income and rural communities throughout the state. It is important that everyone has access to the most advanced medical treatments available. BCC is pleased that its efforts have been recognised by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, as Monahan stated. The National Awards in particular honour distinguished programmes developed by Blue plans for excellence in medical-management categories defined by the National Council on Medical Management. Blue Cross of California was selected from more than thirty programme nominations from plans, making the awards more competitive than ever.

Blue Cross of California, with 5 million medical members, is the California operating subsidiary of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., one of the United States' largest publicly traded managed-care companies. WellPoint serves the health-care needs of nearly 7.2 million medical and approximately 30.6 million speciality members nationally. WellPoint offers a broad spectrum of quality network-based health products, including HMO, PPO, POS, hybrid and speciality managed-care products.

Speciality products involve pharmacy benefit management, dental, vision, utilisation management, mental health, life and disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, COBRA administration and Medicare supplements. You can find more news on grants attributed to the Blue Cross of California in the VMW article Blue Cross of California receives $1.5 million grant for rural telemedicine programme in the February 1999 issue.

Leslie Versweyveld

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