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Companion Benefit Alternatives Introduces Disease Management Programs for Depression, Alcohol Use

January 23, 2007

Columbia, S.C. – Companion Benefit Alternatives Inc., which manages mental health and substance abuse benefits for 1.3 million members of leading health plans, announced today that it has launched innovative disease management programs to help members who suffer from depression and alcohol use disorders.

With the launch of the new Essential SolutionsSM programs, CBA joins only a handful of other managed behavioral health organizations (MBHOs) nationwide that offer disease management for alcohol use. “Our innovative approach to alcohol management includes targeting those who meet the criteria for dependence as well as those at risk of becoming dependent,” said Dr. John P. Emerick, CBA’s medical director and a board-certified psychiatrist.

Both of the programs include regular telephone contact between licensed clinical staff and the member, instead of relying solely on printed educational and support materials. Also, with the member’s permission, CBA’s disease managers will share their findings with the prescribing physician so the information can be integrated into the treatment plan.

“CBA chose to focus on depression and alcohol use disorders as these two diseases account consistently for around 60 percent of our yearly inpatient admissions,” said Dr. Emerick. “These disorders disrupt families, have large associated medical costs, and lead to significant economic loss through decreased work days and a reduction in productivity when people are at work. Tragically, these illnesses result in death for some individuals.”

CBA’s disease management programs help members with chronic conditions better understand their diseases and available treatments, and reinforce positive health behavior between physician visits. Members who enroll in the voluntary programs are partnered with a disease manager, who encourages members to develop self-monitoring and relapse-prevention skills, communicate effectively with healthcare providers, and adhere to a physician-prescribed treatment plan.

Employer groups seeking additional information should call 1-800-868-1032.

About CBA

Columbia, S.C.-based CBA, a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina, is a managed behavioral health organization that administers mental health and substance abuse benefits for 1.3 million beneficiaries enrolled in BlueCross BlueShield health plans, BlueChoice® HealthPlan of South Carolina, the Federal Employee Program, and Planned Administrators Inc. plans. CBA ensures beneficiaries have access to appropriate behavioral healthcare, and lowers costs for employers by offering case and disease management, maintaining a provider network, providing referrals and authorizations, reviewing cases for medical necessity, and performing other utilization management functions.

BlueChoice HealthPlan is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Both are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. “BlueCross,” “BlueShield” and “BlueChoice” are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


Media Contact: Billy Quarles, 803-264-5779

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