Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Announces Staff Reduction

(Providence, RI, 7.21.2010)

As part of its ongoing efforts to moderate the long-term cost of healthcare, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) today announced that it has eliminated 103 positions throughout the company, including 45 vacant positions and 58 currently filled positions. Despite these changes, BCBSRI continues to employ more than 1,000 local residents.

"The decision to reduce our workforce was very difficult, particularly during these challenging economic times," said Laura Calenda, BCBSRI spokesperson. "But as part of our ongoing commitment to provide Rhode Islanders with access to high-quality and affordable healthcare, and to ensure BCBSRI's financial stability, it was necessary to reduce our operating expenses. We have an obligation to our members to ensure that we are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible."

With healthcare costs projected to continue outpacing inflation[1], Calenda stated that BCBSRI also is intensifying efforts to make healthcare more affordable through reform of the local delivery system.

To that end, the company is undertaking a sweeping effort to completely re-engineer both its own operations and local healthcare delivery. To improve patients' health and moderate costs through an emphasis on preventive, proactive and coordinated care, BCBSRI recently partnered with several local primary care practices to establish patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) throughout the state.

BCBSRI also is expanding several programs designed to better manage healthcare costs by encouraging the use of generic drugs, reducing medically unnecessary imaging, and preventing medical fraud and abuse.

"Sweeping changes of this nature won't happen overnight," said Calenda, "but we are confident that over time these combined efforts will be successful in making healthcare more affordable."

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state's leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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