Health management programs offer chronic illness support

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Wellness and Health management programs offer personalized support and education for individuals with chronic illnesses.

The programs – which include: asthma, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, depression, heart failure, lifestyle management, tobacco cessation, maternity care and weight management – identify members who could use the personalized support, based on identification through health assessment. Some members also call in to hear about the services.

Members who participate in a health management program receive educational information on their disease and how to take care of it.

“We look at ways we can provide service as an outreach,” said Margie Andrews, health and disease management. “We have members calls in with any questions. What we look at is additional tools. Primarily, they have a strong relationship with their health care provider and a good understanding of what their health issues are. We are there to be able to support those treatment plans.”

Those who have difficulties in managing chronic conditions can feel better and be healthier.

“It’s difficult to consistently manage chronic conditions,” Andrews said.

The services are provided in the daytime and evening hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

There always has been a disease management and chronic disease management program, said Donna Koefler, director of cases. In 2007, they ramped up the program.

“We developed a lifestyle program so that we have outreach to more of our subscribers,” Koefler said. “It is, in a sense, to reach out to more people, to identify to more people, to offer our services to more people.”

In the future, Andrews would like to improve worksite wellness programs. So far, employers have been allowing them to support their employees health and address their concerns.

“It’s becoming more of a value of having healthier employees,” Andrews said.