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Event To Highlight Successes, Challenges Of Transforming Delivery Of Care For Underserved

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield's (CareFirst) four-year investment in patient-centered medical home (PCMH) programs operated by 11 safety net health centers helped improve care for more than 68,000 low-income and chronically ill patients throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. However, challenges related to staffing, information technology infrastructure and other key areas can adversely affect the implementation of comprehensive PCMH models in safety net settings.

These findings and other key learnings will be discussed when CareFirst CEO Chet Burrell, leaders of safety net health centers involved in the program and other national experts meet during a symposium to be held at the Newseum in D.C. on April 11. To leverage the findings from its initial program, CareFirst, which is co-hosting the event with the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC), also will announce plans to award another $3 million to safety net PCMH programs later this year.

"This initiative has reinforced our belief that patients' relationship with their primary care physician is the most important factor in determining health care outcomes," said Maria Harris Tildon, CareFirst's Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs. "While there are challenges to effectively coordinating care in a patient-centered medical home, we're encouraged with the progress our safety net health partners have made and want to continue to support the delivery of patient-centered care in safety net centers."

The event marks the culmination of CareFirst's Safety Net Center Patient-Centered Medical Home Initiative, which started in 2012 with the company's $8.5 million investment in the following safety net health centers: Arlington Free Clinic; Baltimore Medical System; Calvert Healthcare Solutions; Chase Brexton Health Services; Choptank Community Health System; Community Clinic Inc.; Health Care for the Homeless; Mary's Center; Primary Care Coalition; Total Health Care; and Unity Health Care.

Grant recipients and other prominent representatives in the fields of patient-centered and safety net health care will attend the event to discuss successes, lessons learned and the overall impact and potential of comprehensive patient-centered care in safety net settings. CareFirst's Safety Net Health Center Initiative was designed to promote collaboration between physicians, nurses and specialists in ways that would lead to better patient outcomes and lower costs, particularly for patients with diabetes, heart disease and other chronic medical conditions.

Melinda Abrams, vice president of delivery system reform for The Commonwealth Fund, will deliver the keynote address on the importance of coordinated care for medically underserved patients. Marci Nielsen, PCPCC's President and CEO, also will discuss the state of the movement toward PCMH care delivery. Another panel discussion will address what value-based purchasing means for safety net health centers.

For more information about the event, Transforming Clinical Practice to Care for the Underserved, visit www.carefirst.com/pcmh-safety-net. A webcast of the event will begin at 9:00 a.m. EST on Monday, April 11, 2016.

About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

In its 78th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2015, CareFirst invested $40 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram or Google+.

About the PCPCC

Founded in 2006, the PCPCC is a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to advancing an effective and efficient health care system built on a strong foundation of primary care and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH). The PCPCC achieves its mission through the work of its volunteer members, Stakeholder Centers, experts, and thought leaders focused on key issues of delivery reform, payment reform, patient engagement, and benefit design to drive health system transformation. For more information, or to become an executive member, visit www.pcpcc.org.

CONTACT: CareFirst Media Relations 1-800-914-NEWS (6397) mediarelations@carefirst.comSource: CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst ofMaryland)