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Skilled geriatrician Heidi J. Syropoulos, M.D., joins Independence Blue Cross as medical director of Government Markets

PHILADELPHIA, March 31, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The 65-and-older population in the United States grew from 44.7 million in 2013 to 46.2 million in 2014. Projections show that this number will increase to almost 90 million by 2060. Independence Blue Cross (Independence) recognizes that this number will continue to grow and that the country's shortage of geriatric specialists will persist. In response, Independence has appointed Heidi J. Syropoulos, M.D., a skilled geriatrician, to a newly created role as medical director of Government Markets — an area within Independence that focuses on medical offerings, prescription drug coverage, and special state-subsidized programs for Medicare-eligible individuals.

In the new role, Dr. Syropoulos will analyze emerging health trends that impact the Medicare- eligible population in an effort to formulate recommendations and develop interventions that enhance the benefits Independence offers these individuals. Also, Dr. Syropoulos will take an active role in strategy development around care management, prescription drug coverage, and other operational activities.

"We are excited to have Dr. Syropoulos join our team in this new role, especially as the 65-and-older population continues to grow," says Richard Snyder, M.D., SVP and chief medical officer at Independence. "Geriatrics is an extremely important area of medicine that is unique from other specialties in that the patients not only require care in managing multiple chronic conditions, but have cognitive needs that warrant attention."

Prior to joining Independence, Dr. Syropoulos served as the lead physician in the Complex Care Program for Cigna-HealthSpring, where she directed a population health management interdisciplinary team dedicated to decreasing utilization and improving the health care status of Medicare Advantage members. She has also served as a staff physician and medical director of Long Term Care for Erickson Health Medical Group and section chief of the Primary Care Network at Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Syropoulos is board certified in Geriatrics and Internal Medicine. She received her MD from University of Minnesota, where she also completed her residency.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve nearly 9 million people in 32 states and the District of Columbia, including 2.5 million in the region. For nearly 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

CONTACT: Diana Quattrone 215-241-3113 (office) Diana.Quattrone@ibx.com

Source:Independence Blue Cross