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Independence leadership speaks at national forum on health

Dr. Ryan Connolly, psychiatrist and behavioral health medical director at IBX, joined Dr. Adam Myers, chief clinical transformation officer at BCBSA, Dr. Simone Edwards, director of special projects at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Dr. James Polo, executive medical director at Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon, on a panel about physical and behavioral health integration at the 2021 Health of America Forum.

Annual BCBSA conference focused on mental and maternal health equity

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) President and CEO Greg Deavens gave opening remarks at this year’s Health of America forum hosted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (the Association). The two-day virtual event focused on two of the most pressing health challenges facing our nation today — maternal health and behavioral health. Deavens kicked off day two, focused on behavioral health.

“We are working to shift our health care ecosystem to treat the mind and body in tandem, while recognizing the humanity of all people,” Deavens said. He shared that among Independence’s commercial members, the highest prevalence for any diagnosis — physical or behavioral — is anxiety disorder. The third highest is depression.

“It’s hard to get physical health issues under control when mental health is suffering, and vice versa,” Dr. Ryan Connolly,  psychiatrist and behavioral health medical director at Independence, added to the discussion during an afternoon panel on integrating physical and behavioral health care.

The Health of America Forum builds upon the Association’s National Health Equity Strategy announced in April of 2021 and its series of Health of America Reports based on claims data from all 35 independent Blue Cross Blue Shield Companies, accounting for 1 in 3 Americans.