For Immediate Release
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253

THE BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD ASSOCIATION TO UNDERWRITE WXXI’S NATIONAL HEALTH TV SERIES SECOND OPINION

(Rochester, New York) October 6, 2005 – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), the trade association for the 40 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, has signed on as a major underwriter of WXXI’s national health series, Second Opinion. BCBSA’s financial commitment will help support the production of the award-winning PBS series that engages nationally recognized healthcare professionals and patients in a fast-paced, provocative discussion of medical cases. Currently seen on PBS stations across the country, the series is produced by WXXI Public Broadcasting, West 175 Productions and the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). Season two of Second Opinion launches nationally this month and premieres in Rochester, New York on Saturday, October 8 at 3 p.m. on producing station, WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11).

Second Opinion provides its audience with understandable, useable healthcare information, which fits well with Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s vision for a better, knowledge-based healthcare system,” said Scott P. Serota, BCBSA’s president and CEO.  “Putting knowledge to work more efficiently will lead to greater collaboration between doctors and insurers. It also will provide consumers with the tools they need to make informed decisions for their health and lifestyle needs.”

Just as BCBSA addresses the healthcare needs of the communities it serves, Second Opinion works to provide medical and healthcare information through its broadcasts.

“The financial commitment of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association strengthens Second Opinion’s mission to raise the level of understanding of healthcare issues," said Norm Silverstein, WXXI’s president and CEO. “The health series teaches viewers how to talk more effectively with their doctors and, more importantly, shows doctors how critically important it is to clearly communicate with their patients.”

Second Opinion is hosted by nationally acclaimed Dr. Peter Salgo, who maintains a full-time practice in Intensive Care Medicine in the Open Heart ICU at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Dr. Salgo was part of President Clinton's heart care team when the former president entered the hospital for treatment September 2004.

The first season of Second Opinion dealt with medical issues ranging from heart failure and breast cancer to nutritional supplements and obesity, while season two looks to tackle everything from diabetes to depression. The Larry Kohn Journal Club, a group of top physicians and researchers in Rochester, New York served as medical advisors for the first season while Dr. Roger Oskvig, an acknowledged leader in Gerontology and Associate Professor of Medicine at URMC, was the program's principal medical advisor. Dr. Oskvig will continue to act as principal medical advisor for season two.

Second Opinion presents "medical literacy" in a format that engages and entertains viewers and also boasts a comprehensive companion web site at: http://pbs.org/secondopinion.

Second Opinion is endorsed by both the American Hospital Association and the Association of Academic Health Centers. It is also included in the 2005 PBS Health Initiative to educate and impact important national health issues.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is made up of 40 independent, locally owned and operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 93 million – nearly one-in-three – Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.

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WXXI is an essential, lifelong educational resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI provides programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of the issues of our diverse community, nation and world. Log on to www.wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.

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