Washington – The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has granted Wellness & Health Promotion (WHP) Accreditation to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the first organization in the nation to complete the survey process for NCQA’s new program.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is a national model for offering purchasers wellness programs that can improve employee health and lower costs,” said Margaret E. O’Kane, NCQA President. “Wellness and Health Promotion Accreditation distinguishes organizations that effectively implement workplace wellness programs, partner with quality vendors and protect employees’ privacy.”

“We are thrilled to be recognized by NCQA for our wellness programs,” said Brian Burns, Senior Vice President, Health Care Services of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.  “Employers today expect value for their health plan dollar and that requires that we do more than just pay claims. Customers want us to be a wellness partner and to help them improve their employees’ health and contribute to a more productive workforce.”

Blake Williamson, M.D., Vice President and Senior Medical Director with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, said, "Our goal is to provide a broad range of screening and support tools to program participants to help them achieve their goals for improved health and wellness. The success of integrating our “A Healthier You” program into our other programs is proven by the results that we are seeing. After just three full years in the program, participants are seeing lower levels of blood pressure and cholesterol, a decreased number of emergency room visits and lower overall medical costs."

NCQA’s WHP Accreditation program is a comprehensive assessment of key areas of health promotion, including how wellness programs are implemented in the workplace, how services such as coaching are provided to help participants develop skills to make healthy choices and how individual health information is properly safeguarded.  Fifteen other organizations from around the country have committed to being reviewed for WHP Accreditation in 2009.

“We applaud the efforts of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.  Being the first entity in the country to reach this status speaks volumes about its strong commitment to improving the health of its members and of our community and to initiatives that will help hold down future costs," said Carolyn Watley, President, CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services of Kansas City.

Organizations interested in WHP Accreditation are encouraged to contact NCQA Customer Support at (888) 275-7585

NCQA ( is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and recognizes physicians in key clinical areas. More than 7 in 10 Americans enrolled in health plans are in an NCQA-Accredited plan. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information through the Web, media and data licensing agreements in order to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices.