BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF FLORIDA JOINS CAQH PROVIDER CREDENTIALING SIMPLIFICATION INITIATIVE

WASHINGTON, DC - 12/7/05

The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH), an alliance of the nation’s leading health plans and networks working to simplify healthcare administration, announced today that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) will now use the CAQH Universal Credentialing DataSource® (UCD) service to streamline credentialing for its 36,000 participating providers.

A leader in Florida's health industry, BCBSF joins more than 250 health plans participating in CAQH’s credentialing simplification initiative. Launched in 2002, UCD allows physicians and allied health professionals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to provide their credentialing information free of charge though a single, uniform online application. Nearly one-quarter of a million providers are now registered in the service; approximately 10,000 new providers register each month. CAQH estimates UCD has eliminated more than 900,000 legacy applications.

“By participating in Universal Credentialing DataSource, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is significantly reducing a challenging administrative burden for their network of providers,” said Robin J. Thomashauer, CAQH executive director. “We are very pleased that they have joined our simplification initiative.”

UCD is supported by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the Medical Group Management Association and other provider organizations, and recognized by a number of state legislators and insurance commissioners.

"Our providers’ time is better spent treating patients,” said Dr. Barry Schwartz, vice president, network management, BCBSF. “This collaborative effort with CAQH will help streamline the credentialing process for providers and allow them to more quickly and efficiently submit required credentialing data.”

All data submitted by providers through UCD is maintained by CAQH in a secure, state-of-the-art data center. Providers authorize health plans and other organizations to access to the information. Periodic provider updates help ensure that the information is always current; provider changes are automatically sent to participating healthcare organizations.

CAQH (www.caqh.org) is a catalyst for industry collaboration on initiatives that simplify healthcare administration. CAQH solutions help promote quality interactions between plans, providers and other stakeholders, reduce costs and frustrations associated with healthcare administration, facilitate administrative healthcare information exchange and encourage administrative and clinical data integration.

BCBSF and its subsidiaries serve more than 7.2 million people. Since 1944, the company has been dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of all those it serves by offering an array of choices. BCBSF is a not-for-profit, policyholder-owned, tax-paying mutual company. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., BCBSF is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information concerning BCBSF, please see its Web site at www.bcbsfl.com.

CONTACT:
Chris McNamara
(202) 778-3271

Mark S. Wright (BCBSF)
(904) 905-6935