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CBA's Innovative Program for Managing Depression Earns National Recognition

November 13, 2008

Columbia, S.C. – Companion Benefit Alternatives Inc. (CBA), the largest manager of mental health and substance abuse treatment benefits in South Carolina, announced today that its Essential SolutionsSM program is among 23 finalists in URAC’s prestigious Best Practices in Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection Awards competition.

URAC, a leading independent accrediting organization, received entries from across the nation.

Essential Solutions supports best practice management for the behavioral health disorders of patients seen in primary care. The program offers individualized disease management through continued, structured follow-up assessments and motivational interviewing.

CBA developed Essential Solutions to assist physicians in managing their patients' depression and to educate members on the disease and its treatment. Patients who enroll in the voluntary program are partnered with a CBA disease manager, who encourages them to develop self-monitoring and relapse-prevention skills, communicate with health care providers, and adhere to their physician's treatment plan.

"Recognition from URAC for our work in improving the delivery of mental health care, particularly in the area of depression, is gratifying," said Lynn Watts, CBA's director of clinical services. "It is evidence of our commitment to our ultimate customers, the members whose care is entrusted to us."

A distinguished panel, chaired by epidemiologist Thomas W. Wilson, Ph.D, DrPH, of Trajectory HealthCare, LLC, judged the entries. The 30-member panel included the best and most widely recognized experts in program evaluation, care coordination, health information technology, employer and purchaser decision-making, and patient safety. Finalists will be honored during the 2009 Best Practices Conference & Exhibit.

"The Best Practices Awards and Conference provide a unique opportunity for leaders in health care management to learn what premier companies are doing to advance consumer protection and empowerment," said Alan Spielman, URAC's president and CEO. "It is a one-of-a-kind conference, designed to inspire the industry as a whole to rapidly adopt proven practices that advance patient safety and empower consumers with improved decision-making tools."

About CBA

Columbia, S.C.-based CBA  is a managed behavioral health organization that administers mental health and substance abuse benefits for 1.3 million beneficiaries enrolled in BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina and other Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans, BlueChoice® HealthPlan of South Carolina, the Federal Employee Program, and Planned Administrators Inc. plans. CBA is a separate company that administers mental health benefits. CBA ensures beneficiaries have access to appropriate behavioral health care, 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.

For more information, call 800-868-1032.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About URAC

URAC (www.URAC.org), an independent, nonprofit organization, is well known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation and certification programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitment to quality and accountability.


Media Contact: Billy Quarles, 803-264-5779

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