Optima, Sentara Health Plans Receive "Excellent" Accreditation from NCQA
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Optima, Sentara Health Plans Receive "Excellent" Accreditation from NCQA 

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Norfolk - November 29, 2001 - Four health plans administered by Sentara Health Management have received the highest level of accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Optima Health Plan's Commercial HMO, Optima Health Insurance Company's Commercial POS Plan, Sentara Health Plans, Inc.'s Commercial HMO, and Optima Health Plan's HMO Medicaid product (Sentara Family Care) have all been awarded an accreditation of "Excellent" by NCQA.

"We are extremely proud of earning the "excellent" accreditation from NCQA," says Michael M. Dudley, president of Sentara Health Management. "Achieving the highest level of accreditation is the direct result of the unified efforts of the doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals who share our passion for improving the health of our members. We are proud of the accreditation we earned from NCQA, and will strive to be even better in the future."

NCQA is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to assessing and reporting on the quality of managed care plans, managed behavioral healthcare organizations, physician organizations, and credentials verification organizations. Its mission is to provide information that enables purchasers and consumers of managed health care to distinguish among plans based on quality, thereby allowing them to make more informed decisions.

NCQA touches on all aspects of an HMO; everything from customer service to providing quality medical care are scrutinized. Dudley says this requires a commitment of all members of the organization to earn the "excellent" accreditation each year.

"We never know when our members may need us, so we have to be ready at all times to serve their health care needs," Dudley says. "NCQA has challenged health plans to strive for a higher level of care and service, and we believe we are exceeding that challenge. Our employees and the physicians and hospitals with whom we partner are dedicated to providing high levels of service and clinical quality to our members and to be acknowledged by NCQA shows that their hard work is being recognized."

An accreditation of "excellent" by the NCQA is reserved for those Managed Care Organization (MCO) product lines and products that deliver the highest quality of care and service, and whose clinical and administrative systems that meet or exceed NCQA's rigorous requirements for consumer protection and quality improvement. Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) results must be in the upper range of national performance to achieve this designation which is intended to stimulate and recognize exceptional MCO performance.

Sentara Health Management is part of an integrated health care delivery system, Sentara Healthcare. Sentara Health Management serves nearly 300,000 members in Virginia with its variety of health care insurance plans.

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