HHS Secretary Sebelius Names Blue Cross Executive to National Committee

Chief Information Officer Ob Soonthornsima will sit on panel charged
with leading policy related to health statistics and HIPAA information

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the appointment of a Baton Rouge insurance executive to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS). Worachote “Ob” Soonthornsima, senior vice president and chief information officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, will be the sole representative of the insurance industry on the panel when his term starts June 1, 2011.

The NCVHS advises the HHS chief on policy related to health statistics and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA. The panel’s charter says its primary function is to “monitor the nation’s health data needs and current approaches to meeting those needs; identify emerging health data issues, including methodologies and technologies of information systems, databases and networking that could improve abilities to meet those needs.”

Soonthornsima has been the top information technology and security officer at Blue Cross since 2003. He also directs the company’s Louisiana Health Information Technology strategy. The effort’s goal is to increase the use of electronic health records across the state. He is credited with a major IT transformation during his time at Blue Cross that has led to new e-business framework, the replacement of a legacy claims system and introduction of payer-based e-Rx and personal health records.

His professional experience centers on the insurance/financial services industry. Major focuses include information technology, business process engineering and program management development. 


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is the oldest and largest Louisiana-based health insurance company. Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, fully taxed mutual insurer, owned by policyholders and governed by a local Board of Directors. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

The company provides group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to more than 1.3 million members. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana employs more than 1,900 Louisianians who are committed to improving the lives of its customers by providing them with health guidance and affordable access to quality care.

Learn more on the company’s website at www.bcbsla.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bluecrossla. Follow Blue Cross on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BCBSLA and CEO Mike Reitz at www.twitter.com/MikeReitzCEO