Blue Cross of California is giving away an additional $2 million in free desktop or handheld computers to 1,040 of its network physicians who treat a high number of poor or uninsured patients. The giveaway is an extension of a far larger initiative launched in January by WellPoint Health Networks, the California insurer's parent. Under that initiative, WellPoint provided $40 million in free computers to 19,000 network physicians and negotiated substantial discounts on the equipment for its 170,000 other contracting doctors. The Blues expansion will give safety-net physicians their choice of a Dell computer system, which lets them access patient records and file claims via the Internet, or a hand-held device that submits prescriptions to pharmacists electronically and flags potential drug interactions. "The more physicians who can communicate electronically, the more improvement we will see in the delivery of medical care," said David Helwig, Blue Cross president and chief executive officer. -- by Laura B. Benko
Calif. Blues giving computers to safety-net docs
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