Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois PREP Initiative Receives a Top Honor from URAC

Oct 15, 2013, 12:15 ET from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois

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Preventing Readmissions through Effective Partnerships (PREP) initiative named one of 2013 Best Practices Award Winners 

CHICAGO, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois received the Bronze award initiative in the Health Plan category from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC), a leading health care accreditation and education organization, for  their Preventing Readmissions through Effective Partnerships (PREP).  URAC announced the winners last week of the 2013 Best Practices Awards honoring organizations that are actively pursuing practices to advance consumer engagement and protection in an exceptional, measurable and reproducible way.

"I am proud that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is being recognized for its proactive work to keep members healthy and well," said Opella Ernest, M.D, Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. "The PREP program is part of our continuing commitment to work with health care providers to improve the quality of care while lowering health care costs. The bronze award is an honor, but we want our members to know we continue to invest in innovative programs and next year our aim is all gold."

BCBSIL and the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) partnered to create the PREP program. Partnering with nationally-recognized experts from the Division of Hospital Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Society of Hospital Medicine, PREP helps Illinois hospitals significantly reduce the rate of patient readmissions by 2014 through the following five key initiatives:

  • Redesigning hospital discharge processes;
  • Improving transitions of care;
  • Developing and improving palliative care programs;
  • Reducing readmissions from infections; and
  • Measuring reductions in readmissions using standardized metrics.

URAC recognized organizations in the categories of care coordination and clinical integration, health plans, and quality measurement and data analytics. Platinum awards were also given in the categories of Consumer Decision-Making and Consumer Health Improvement. All winners were recognized at the 2013 Best Practices Awards Gala as part of URAC's Annual Quality Summit, held September 30 - October 1, 2013 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
With 7.5 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Founded in Chicago in 1936, BCBSIL remains member owned rather than publicly traded, and is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities, fostering greater access to care, and working to lower the overall cost of care while improving health care quality and patient outcomes.

About URAC
URAC is a national accreditation leader, offering over 30 highly regarded accreditation programs that span the health care spectrum.  Our programs are created and updated by independent industry-spanning experts to address the latest market trends and needs, exemplified by our recently launched Clinical Integration and Accountable Care Accreditation Programs.  The nation's leading Case Management Accreditor, URAC recently launched the enhanced Case Management Accreditation program which addresses the increased focus on improving care coordination across the evolving health care landscape. Our Health Plan Accreditation program carries HHS approval to accredit health plans on Exchanges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  URAC's accreditation programs are formally recognized by six federal agencies, as well as 48 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois