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LINDA L. JOHNSON NAMED CLAIMS VICE PRESIDENT BY BLUE CROSS & BLUE SHIELD OF OHIO; HAS BEEN MOUNTAIN STATE VP IN WHEELING

 CLEVELAND, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Linda L. Johnson, who has emphasized efficiency and operational improvement in a 20-year career has been named vice president, claims - statewide, of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio (BCBSO).
 Johnson, who has been vice president of operations for Mountain State Blue Cross & Blue Shield, based in the company's Wheeling, W. Va., office, starts her new job on March 29, said Lee J. Helis, executive vice president, statewide operations.
 Mountain State receives financial and technical assistance from Mutual Management Co., a subsidiary of BCBSO.
 Johnson will oversee the work of 480 employees and the payment statewide of $1.4 billion annually in provider claims, Helis said.
 She succeeds the late Patricia D. Renfro, who died last November after a courageous battle with cancer.
 "Linda Johnson's accomplishments speak for themselves," said Helis. "Under her supervision, Mountain State has become one of the top dozen Blue Cross & Blue Shield Plans in the country in critical areas of claims payments and customer service.
 "That is exactly the kind of record we felt was necessary, because we rank among the top handful of Blue Cross Plans nationally in the speed and accuracy with which we process claims and overall efficiency in customer service.
 "Among her many roles with Mountain State, Linda was also responsible for maintaining and improving upon the Plan's quality assurance commitment, which has been and remains a top priority here. And here, again, she has been successful."
 Helis added: "It boils down to the simple fact that there is no one more eminently qualified to fill this important vice presidency than Linda Johnson, and we're delighted that she is joining us."
 At Mountain State, she oversaw the work of 300 people and was responsible for an annual budget of $8.7 million. In addition to supervising statewide claims processing, customer service, and quality assurance, she was also responsible for training and physician contracting. In addition, she has experience in labor relations.
 Johnson's career started at Bellaire Hospital in Bellaire, Ohio. In October 1973, she joined the former Charleston-based Blue Cross & Blue Shield of West Virginia, one of Mountain State's predecessor companies.
 In early 1982, she was named coordinator of a project to develop and implement a fully automated claims processing system. Having completed the assignment successfully, she was named an assistant claims vice president in 1984.
 When the company decided to centralize its statewide customer service activities in the Wheeling office in June of 1987, Johnson was named assistant vice president of customer service.
 She was promoted to her most recent vice presidency after also serving as vice president of Wheeling operations for three years.
 "We were successful in making improvements by studying procedures from top to bottom, analyzing operations, and refining and improving procedures where they needed to be improved," said Johnson.
 "It's a wonderful opportunity for me to move into a new and larger environment to apply the same methods that have been consistently successful on a smaller scale."
 She added: "That's also a personal challenge and one I accept enthusiastically. Some of the improvements we were able to implement at Mountain State might be easier to accomplish at a smaller plan. So the challenge for me is to develop the same kinds of successful networks in a larger environment."
 Johnson and her husband, Phil, have two daughters and two sons. The family lives in Rayland, Ohio, in Jefferson County, and plans to move to Greater Cleveland.
 -0- 3/26/93
 /CONTACT: David Eden of William Silverman & Company, 216-696-7750, for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio/


CO: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio ST: Ohio IN: INS SU: PER

BM -- CL017 -- 9519 03/26/93 15:13 EST
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Date:Mar 26, 1993
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