Wellness Edition, Number 3

In This Issue


Love Your Heart

Did you know high blood pressure and high cholesterol are two of the major risk factors for heart disease?

And because high blood pressure and high cholesterol often occur together, having both increases the risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.

But how does this relate specifically to the NCMS Plan? Consider the following:

  • From March 2008 to February 2009, the NCMS Plan paid close to $2.5 million in treatment of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • In the same period, more than 2,000 employees and dependents covered by the NCMS Plan sought treatment for high cholesterol.
  • More than 3,200 sought treatment for high blood pressure.

The good news isÖ both high blood pressure and high cholesterol can be controlled. First, a person should know his or her healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels and have them checked regularly. Lifestyle changes; such as eating a low-salt, low-saturated-fat diet, exercising 30-60 minutes three or more days a week, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding excessive alcohol intake can all contribute to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And if lifestyle changes alone donít improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, medication(s) may be prescribed, which should be taken as directed by a physician. Finally, itís important for patients who are monitoring high blood pressure and high cholesterol to keep all of their physician appointments.

At the NCMS Plan, we value the health of all our members and want them to learn how to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Here are four ways they can get started:

  1. Enroll in the Member Health Partnerships program and learn how to manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Read the next article in this issue for more information about Member Health Partnerships.
  2. Sign up for Online Healthy Living Programs and learn how to reduce the risk for heart disease by eating healthy and exercising. Log into the Member Services section of www.bcbsnc.com and visit Health Programs.
  3. Call Health Line Blue toll free at 1-877-477-2424 or log into the Member Services section of www.bcbsnc.com and visit Health Resources.
  4. Earn prizes with Blue Points for participating in physical and wellness activities, including learning about healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Log into the Member Serivces section of www.bcbsnc.com and visit Rewards and Discounts.

Manage Specific Health Conditions with MHP

Running a successful medical practice in these tough economic times is a challenge for even the most well prepared Administrator. Retaining a strong, healthy workforce is essential to that success. The health benefits you provide your employees through the NCMS Plan allows them to receive care when they are ill, get screenings for preventable or treatable conditions, and avoid serious financial burden should they or a family member suffer a catastrophic illness. The NCMS Plan also offers your employees a program to help them manage their specific health conditions. You can support their quest for a healthier lifestyle while perhaps controlling costs and improving your bottom line.

Welcome to Member Health Partnerships (MHP), the confidential health management program for adults and children offering educational materials and support services. Programs include, but are not limited to, asthma, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight management, stress management, migraine, and tobacco cessation. This program is included in the NCMS Plan and administered by BCBSNC. The best part is, itís free, easy to access and just a few mouse clicks away!

Encourage your employees to enroll in MHP today. Members can log onto www.bcbsnc.com and register for Member Services if they have not already done so. Once on the Member Services webpage, select Health Programs and then Learn about our program for diabetes, asthma, heart disease and more. They can then click on the green bar to request enrollment information. By completing and returning a short health survey which can be downloaded on the site, they will be enrolled. Or call 1-800-218-5295 and enroll by phone. Membership is confidential. Participants receive support materials and resources in the mail based on their customized program. Specially trained nurses are available to answer health questions and offer personalized support.

Let your employees and their covered family members know about MHP. Some of the programs are specifically geared toward children and offer wonderful books with supportive themes and educational information. Encourage your employees to take advantage of this valuable resource. At your next staff meeting, why not introduce your employees to the MHP program? By doing so, you will be taking steps to positively influence the health of your staff and investing in your practice's continued success.

To request MHP brochures to share with your employees, contact Crystal Taylor at [email protected] and provide quantity requested, contact name, practice name, and address for shipping. Please allow 10-15 business days for delivery.

About the North Carolina Medical Society

As the largest physician organization in the state, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) is devoted to representing the interests of physicians and protecting the quality of patient care. The NCMS Plan, sponsored by the NCMS, is the only statewide employee benefits plan designed specifically for North Carolina physicians.

For more information about many other benefits of NCMS membership, visit www.ncmedsoc.org.

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