Blue Cross Announces Healthy Air Finalists for Prevention Minnesota Funding

Funding Will Support Community-Led Efforts to Reduce Secondhand Smoke



May 26, 2006, 01:00 ET from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

    EAGAN, Minn., May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
 Minnesota (Blue Cross) has announced the selection of 11 proposals to
 promote clean indoor air policies in communities around the state. The
 initiative -- Communities for Healthy Air -- is part of Prevention
 Minnesota, Blue Cross' long-term health improvement initiative that tackles
 preventable heart disease and cancers by addressing their root causes --
 tobacco use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy eating.
     "Tobacco is the leading cause of death and disease in the United
 States," said Marc Manley, M.D., vice president and medical director of
 population health at Blue Cross. "Nationally, secondhand smoke also causes
 at least 35,000 heart disease deaths and 3,000 lung cancer deaths every
 year among non-smokers and costs more than $10 billion in health care
 costs, disability assistance and lost productivity. This is a critical
 problem, so we're pleased to provide support to local organizations and
 communities as they improve the health of all Minnesotans through
 smoke-free environments."
     The selected projects emerged from a competitive Request for Proposals
 (RFP) process. Each eligible application went through a two-part expert
 review process. While funding is contingent on successful contract
 negotiation, the following organizations were selected as finalists for the
 Communities for Healthy Air funding:
     --  American Cancer Society, Midwest Division, Inc.
     --  Association for Nonsmokers Minnesota (two projects)
     --  Beltrami Tobacco Education Awareness Movement (B-TEAM)
     --  Blue Earth County Medical Society
     --  CentraCare Health Foundation
     --  Clay County Public Health
     --  Hennepin Medical Society
     --  Kandiyohi County Tobacco Coalition
     --  Nobles-Rock Community Health Services
     --  Ramsey Medical Society
     Communities for Healthy Air funding is a part of a larger community
 funding initiative by Blue Cross' Prevention Minnesota. Other current
 community funding projects encourage regular physical activity among
 Minnesotans. Funding for 14 Communities on the Move projects to promote
 physical activity was announced May 17. An additional 20 to 50 more will be
 announced later this year. The finalists for two additional community
 funding initiatives -- Active Community Planning and Active Community
 Assessment and Engagement -- will be announced in July. Those two programs
 will help Minnesota city and county governments incorporate walking paths,
 greenways, transportation systems and land-use policies into their
 community planning. Funding for all these programs in 2006 will total
 approximately $5.8 million.
     Community funding complements Prevention Minnesota's other core
 strategies, which include smoking cessation services, clinical initiatives,
 public awareness campaigns and outreach to high-risk groups. Prevention
 Minnesota's broad-based approach follows the strategic guidance of the
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has cited community
 programs as an essential part of a comprehensive health improvement
 program.
     For more information visit http://www.preventionminnesota.com .
     Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St.
 Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health
 plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a
 wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the
 people of Minnesota. A not-for-profit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is
 the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.6 million members in
 Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by
 its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an
 independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association,
 headquartered in Chicago. Go to http://www.bluecrossmn.com to learn more
 about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
 
 

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
    EAGAN, Minn., May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
 Minnesota (Blue Cross) has announced the selection of 11 proposals to
 promote clean indoor air policies in communities around the state. The
 initiative -- Communities for Healthy Air -- is part of Prevention
 Minnesota, Blue Cross' long-term health improvement initiative that tackles
 preventable heart disease and cancers by addressing their root causes --
 tobacco use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy eating.
     "Tobacco is the leading cause of death and disease in the United
 States," said Marc Manley, M.D., vice president and medical director of
 population health at Blue Cross. "Nationally, secondhand smoke also causes
 at least 35,000 heart disease deaths and 3,000 lung cancer deaths every
 year among non-smokers and costs more than $10 billion in health care
 costs, disability assistance and lost productivity. This is a critical
 problem, so we're pleased to provide support to local organizations and
 communities as they improve the health of all Minnesotans through
 smoke-free environments."
     The selected projects emerged from a competitive Request for Proposals
 (RFP) process. Each eligible application went through a two-part expert
 review process. While funding is contingent on successful contract
 negotiation, the following organizations were selected as finalists for the
 Communities for Healthy Air funding:
     --  American Cancer Society, Midwest Division, Inc.
     --  Association for Nonsmokers Minnesota (two projects)
     --  Beltrami Tobacco Education Awareness Movement (B-TEAM)
     --  Blue Earth County Medical Society
     --  CentraCare Health Foundation
     --  Clay County Public Health
     --  Hennepin Medical Society
     --  Kandiyohi County Tobacco Coalition
     --  Nobles-Rock Community Health Services
     --  Ramsey Medical Society
     Communities for Healthy Air funding is a part of a larger community
 funding initiative by Blue Cross' Prevention Minnesota. Other current
 community funding projects encourage regular physical activity among
 Minnesotans. Funding for 14 Communities on the Move projects to promote
 physical activity was announced May 17. An additional 20 to 50 more will be
 announced later this year. The finalists for two additional community
 funding initiatives -- Active Community Planning and Active Community
 Assessment and Engagement -- will be announced in July. Those two programs
 will help Minnesota city and county governments incorporate walking paths,
 greenways, transportation systems and land-use policies into their
 community planning. Funding for all these programs in 2006 will total
 approximately $5.8 million.
     Community funding complements Prevention Minnesota's other core
 strategies, which include smoking cessation services, clinical initiatives,
 public awareness campaigns and outreach to high-risk groups. Prevention
 Minnesota's broad-based approach follows the strategic guidance of the
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has cited community
 programs as an essential part of a comprehensive health improvement
 program.
     For more information visit http://www.preventionminnesota.com .
     Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St.
 Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health
 plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a
 wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the
 people of Minnesota. A not-for-profit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is
 the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.6 million members in
 Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by
 its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an
 independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association,
 headquartered in Chicago. Go to http://www.bluecrossmn.com to learn more
 about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
 
 SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota