RALEIGH, N.C. – WakeMed and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) announced today that they have entered into a multi-year agreement. This agreement means that WakeMed will remain an in-network provider for BCBSNC members, ensuring stable access to outstanding health care for the millions of North Carolina residents who have BCBSNC insurance coverage. 
Both WakeMed and BCBSNC play a significant role in providing access to quality health care in this community, and the agreement represents their mutual commitment to meeting local health care needs.  Last year, WakeMed cared for more than 52,000 BCBSNC members, and the health system expects to see nearly 63,000 this year.  WakeMed anticipates having nearly 300 BCBSNC patient encounters per day in 2007. 
“We are pleased to work with BCBSNC to ensure adults and children throughout the community have access to the unique and specialized services offered at WakeMed,” explains Dr. Bill Atkinson, WakeMed president & CEO.  “For decades, WakeMed has upheld an important mission of providing outstanding and compassionate care to all who seek our services, and we recognize that the residents of this region rely on us to assist with health care for themselves and their families. Together, WakeMed and BCBSNC have entered into this long-term agreement to help protect our community’s ability to access WakeMed's services."
“This agreement allows us to continue to offer our members the widest possible choice of hospitals in the Triangle, while keeping rates as competitive as possible,” says Bob Greczyn, BCBSNC president and CEO. “It’s important to us that our members have access to the medical expertise WakeMed provides. At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, we look forward to our continued cooperative work with WakeMed to improve the quality and accessibility of the health care system and to build a stronger Triangle. Our relationship shows what can happen when two important local institutions commit to promote the common good.” 
WakeMed offers many services that are not available anywhere else in Wake County, including the state’s first freestanding Children’s Emergency Department, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care, Neuro Intensive Care, Rehabilitation Hospital.  The WakeMed Raleigh Campus is also home to the county’s only Level I Trauma Center, one of only six in the state.  In 2006, WakeMed earned BCBSNC’s Cardiac Centers of Excellence distinction, which is awarded to health care providers who demonstrate quality care, better outcomes and greater value for BCBSNC members. 
With its continuing relationship with WakeMed, BCBSNC’s networks include every hospital in the Triangle and almost all in the state of North Carolina. BCBSNC, the state’s largest health insurer, serves more than 3.4 million people, including about 300,000 in Wake County, and has members in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
As the largest health care provider in Wake County, WakeMed treated more than 180,000 patients in its emergency departments in 2006 alone.  Also in 2006, WakeMed helped deliver nearly 8,000 babies, performed more than 25,000 cardiovascular procedures, and handled nearly half a million outpatient visits.
About WakeMed Health & Hospitals:
WakeMed Health & Hospitals, one of the first hospital systems in the country, is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C.  The 851-bed system comprises a network of health care facilities throughout Wake and Johnston Counties, including: a Level I Trauma Center and tertiary referral hospital and rehabilitation hospital in Raleigh, a community hospital in Cary, a comprehensive outpatient center and freestanding emergency department in North Raleigh, seven outpatient rehabilitation sites, two skilled-nursing and outpatient facilities, a 100+-physician multispecialty practice, and home health services. The system includes two accredited Chest Pain Centers and one JCAHO-certified Stroke Center.  Throughout the system, there are an additional 118 beds under construction. WakeMed also provides management services for Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn, NC. Centers of excellence include cardiac and vascular care, women’s and children’s services, physical rehab, emergency and trauma, orthopaedics, neurosciences, home care and numerous wellness and community outreach programs.  WakeMed’s team of 7,000 nurses, technologists and medical support staff and more than 1,000 affiliated physicians serve the residents of North Carolina using the most advanced technologies and facilities to ensure the finest in health care.  For more information, visit wakemed.org.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.4 million members, including approximately 749,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 73 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.