Optima and Sentara Health Plans Announce New Complementary Alternative Medicine Program
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Optima and Sentara Health Plans Announce New Complementary Alternative Medicine Program 

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Norfolk, VA - November 10, 2000 -- Sentara Health Management has signed a letter of intent with American Specialty Health Networks (ASHN). The agreement, signed on behalf of Optima and Sentara health plans and the employer funded plans administered by Sentara Health Management, will provide a complementary health care discount program for approximately 300,000 plan members throughout Virginia.

Effective Jan. 1, 2001, plan members will have access to ASHN's credentialed network of chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists. Participating providers have agreed to accept up to a 25 percent reduction in their fees. Under this program, members will not need referrals and they pay participating providers directly for services.

"Members told us they want access to complementary and alternative medicines, and that's what this discount program provides them," says Michael Dudley, president of Sentara Health Management, which manages Optima and Sentara health plans. "We believe members should have the right to determine if these treatments and therapies are right for them."

As of Jan. 1, 2001, members will be able to go to optimahealth.com or sentara.com to link to healthyroads.com, an ASHN affiliate offering resources such as:
My Library:  A comprehensive Internet sources of educational information on complementary and alternative medicine.
My Store: More than 1,200 health and wellness products at significant discounts.
My Providers: Directory featuring complementary health care providers and fitness clubs across the nation participating in the ASHN network. Members can also obtain travel instructions from this web site, as well as a certificate to access to their chosen provider.

"Complementary and alternative medicine has become an integral part of most Americans ' personal healthcare system," said George DeVries, president and CEO, ASHN. "We are pleased to partner with Optima and Sentara health plans and Sentara Health Management to provide their members with a network access program."

Optima and Sentara health plans are part of an integrated health care delivery system, Sentara Healthcare. Modern Healthcare magazine, in its January 31, 2000, issue, named Sentara Healthcare as one of the top 10 integrated health care delivery systems in the country, and has done so for the past three years. Sentara operates more than 70 caregiving sites including six hospitals, 10 nursing and assisted living facilities, two outpatient health care campuses, home health and hospice services, physical therapy and rehabilitation services, ground and air medical transport services, and a fitness facility. (1)

ASHN provides network access programs and managed care programs nationwide to health plans, insurance carriers, employer groups and trust funds. Its affiliate, American Specialty Health Plans (ASHP) of California, is the nation's first and largest health plan for chiropractic and acupuncture services. (2) ASHN and ASHP provide comprehensive services including utilization management, quality management, member and provider services, claims and credentialing. ASHN and ASHP have received seven, full, two-year accreditations from the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission /URAC. Based in San Diego, ASHP and ASHN have over 500 employees and cover more than 40 million members nationwide through various managed benefit, network access and discount programs.(3)

1 "Sentara at a Glance", Sentara Corporate Brochure 2000.
2 ASHP Office of Public Relations
3 ASHP Office of Public Relations

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