CHICAGO, June 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies and their foundations around the country increased their support for community programs that promote healthier behaviors and address social determinants of health – the social factors that can negatively impact health – such as homelessness and food insecurity, according to the ninth annual "The Health of America Community Investment Report."
The report, released by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, highlights the community investments made by the 36 BCBS companies and their foundations in 2016. Underscoring BCBS companies' commitment to helping all Americans live healthier lives, programs that focused on increasing healthy eating behaviors and physical activity in schools, mentorship programs for at-risk youth, health clinics for underserved populations and programs that connect low-income patients with hard-to-reach health specialists rose to the forefront of the investments made by BCBS companies last year.
Additionally, the number of community programs related to behavioral health, including efforts to reduce opioid use disorder, increased by 25 percent as BCBS companies around the country work to address America's opioid epidemic.
"Investing in the health and well-being of our communities has been a long-standing tradition of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies for nearly 90 years," said BCBSA President and CEO Scott P. Serota. "We're proud to be a part of the great work taking place in the communities where our members live and work. By supporting these efforts, we can make progress toward reducing health disparities and achieving healthier outcomes for every American across the country – leading to healthier generations in the future."
For decades, BCBS companies and their employees have been promoting healthier living by giving back to the communities where they live and work. In 2016, they invested more than $250 million in community health initiatives, and BCBS employees volunteered more than 400,000 hours and provided more than $11 million dollars in personal donations.
"The Health of America Community Investment Report" showcases community investments by BCBS companies in three key areas:
- Enabling Healthier Living: In 2016, BCBS companies provided people with the tools and resources necessary to adopt healthy behaviors and prevent and manage health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes. Programs focused on teaching people how to make healthier food choices, increase their physical activity and manage chronic diseases.
- Improving Healthcare Access: Improving Americans' access to healthcare was a priority for BCBS companies in 2016. The report highlights investments in safety net and mobile clinics and programs dedicated to increasing health literacy.
- Improving Healthcare Quality and Affordability: The report showed BCBS companies working alongside hospitals and doctors to improve how care is delivered – all with the goal of better health. One local effort integrated primary and behavioral health services for low-income patients living in rural areas, while other initiatives include educational opportunities for patients and doctors and support for medical research.
To learn more about how BCBS companies are improving the health and wellness of members and their communities, view the report at www.bcbs.com/investingincommunities.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Index. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog.
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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association