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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Offering New Comprehensive Kidney Care Program to Help Improve Member Health

Insurer collaborates with Somatus, a value-based kidney care company, to launch statewide program

CHICAGO — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is partnering with Somatus on a new program for certain members with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The program is the newest BCBSIL value-based care arrangement focused on closing gaps in care by improving care coordination, further preventing or delaying the progression of CKD, better supporting the social needs of these complex members, and ultimately working to improve access, quality and health outcomes and lowering the overall cost of care.

The Somatus Kidney Care Program addresses social determinants of health while providing comprehensive in-person and virtual support for members that includes:

  • Transition services following hospitalization, to help understand changes in medication or home care plans;
  • Diet, lifestyle, and medication management;
  • Access to community resources, including medication assistance programs, transportation and financial support; and,
  • Treatment option education to help members decide the best treatment method.

Assistance with these areas will be provided by experienced field-based nurse care managers, nurse practitioners, community health workers, pharmacists, renal dietitians and social workers – all working with the member’s doctors. The program is offered at no-cost to members.

“BCBSIL believes providing access to culturally competent programs is imperative to caring for members with chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease, said Salma Khaleq, vice president, Network Management, BCBSIL. “Black Americans are almost 4 times more likely, and Hispanics or Latinos are 1.3 times more likely, to have kidney failure compared to White Americans. We are excited to work with an organization that reflects the much-needed diversity in the kidney care market with hopes of seeing more inclusivity in this space in the future.”

Somatus’ comprehensive kidney care program has successfully been deployed in multiple states across the country, working to improve the quality of life and care for patients with kidney disease.

“We are excited to partner with BCBSIL to address both the physical and psychosocial needs of members living with kidney disease”, said Dr. Ikenna Okezie, CEO and Co-Founder of Somatus. “Our program has proven that when care is personalized and delivered locally in the community, all kidney care stakeholders can collaborate and align around the best interests of the member. We look forward to helping BCBSIL and local providers transform kidney care and improve member health in Illinois.”

The Somatus Kidney Care Program began on November 1, 2020.

Program participation will initially be offered to BCBSIL Medicare Advantage members with plans to further expand later in 2021.

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About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is committed to expanding access to quality, cost-effective health care to as many people as possible in Illinois. BCBSIL is dedicated to innovation and exploring, nurturing, and activating future possibilities to make the health care system work better for our members and our communities. BCBSIL is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. 

HMO, HMO-POS and PPO plans provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company (HCSC). HMO plan provided by Illinois Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance Company (ILBCBSIC). HCSC and ILBCBSIC are Independent Licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. HCSC and ILBCBSIC are Medicare Advantage organizations with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in HCSC's and ILBCBSIC’s plans depends on contract renewal.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-877-774-8592 (TTY 711). UWAGA: Jezeli mówisz po polsku, mozesz skorzystac z bezplatnej pomocy jezykowej. Zadzwon pod numer 1-877-774-8592 (TTY 711).

Media Contact

Colleen Miller 
Colleen_Miller@bcbsil.com 
312.653.6904



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