I wish to commend the leaders of The Times-Tribune for the editorial “Health key to low-cost care” that was published in your October 18 edition.
As someone who’s been part of the health care industry for more than 30 years, I have watched our nation’s health decline while medical care costs have skyrocketed, reaching approximately 18 percent of our country’s current GDP.
Here in northeastern Pennsylvania, we are fortunate to have countless organizations and individuals committed to our community’s good health. And the one thing we all recognize is the change that can occur simply by making healthier choices.
Consider that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that roughly 75 percent of employers’ health care costs nationwide come from treating chronic but preventable conditions brought on by obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and lack of physical activity. As the cost, quality and access challenges facing our health care system become more complicated, personal and corporate accountability for prevention and wellness must be part of the solution.
Our own experience at Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania proves that healthier individuals help curb the rising cost of health care for everyone. The results of our own investment in employee wellness have been dramatic, with indicators such as inpatient hospitalization, emergency room utilization and overall care costs increasing at rates far less than national averages since 2008. And through our Blue Health Solutions program, we share what we have learned to help other employers pursue similar results.
Your editorial gives me hope that individuals want to make good decisions about their health. We know it can happen. Together, we can create a culture that embraces the value of wellness and prevention.
Denise S. Cesare
President and CEO
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania