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Excellus health insurance launches new community campaign


Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) is launching a new campaign to remind people of the importance of taking prescription medications as directed. In many hospitals, it’s called medication adherence, and it’s an issue that’s becoming a hot topic in the health world today.

BCBS Regional President Arthur Vercillo says statistics show 75 percent of patients don’t take their prescriptions as directed.

“It is so common, when someone is given a prescription for an antibiotic for a seven-day course for an infection, and then in three or four days they feel better, and they stop taking it, and they hold on to that last three days, in case I get something six months from now, or in case a family member gets sick," Vercillo said. "This happens all the time.”

That’s why, Vercillo says, the company is embarking on a community engagement campaign to urge people to follow the directions on a prescription bottle.

“Failing to take medication as directed can lead to a worsening of a medical condition, it can lead to an unnecessary admission to a hospital, it certainly runs up health care costs, and in some cases, it’s lethal,” Vercillo said.

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow says patients should discuss these issues with their doctors, especially when a patient may be on several different medications at once.

“When you’re older and you have five or six medical conditions and maybe up to ten medications, it can be incredibly confusing, and we’re going to see more outcomes - death, sickness, hospitalizations - associated with those very complex medical situations,” Morrow said.

The cornerstone of the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield campaign is a cartoon superhero, named TAD, for take as directed. You’ll soon be seeing the superhero on billboards and pamphlets across upstate New York.