Sentara Receives "Excellent" Accreditation from NCQA
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Sentara Receives "Excellent" Accreditation from NCQA 

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Norfolk, VA - November 25, 2002- For the fifth consecutive year, health plans administered by Sentara Health Management have received the highest level of accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)1.

Optima Health Plan's commercial HMO and Medicaid HMO product, Optima Health Insurance Company's commercial POS, and Sentara Health Plans' commercial HMO were named among an elite group of health plans from across the nation to earn an "Excellent" Accreditation from the NCQA. Optima Health Plan is Virginia's only commercial HMO to maintain NCQA's highest accreditation status since 1981. "We are extremely pleased to continually earn 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 doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals working together to help members improve their health."

NCQA is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to assessing and reporting on the quality of managed care plans, preferred provider organizations, and other health-related 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 decisions2.

NCQA touches on all aspects of a health plan; everything from member satisfaction to wellness programs is scrutinized. Dudley says this designation is testament to the commitment Sentara places on maintaining and improving the health of its members.

"Our members health comes first," 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."

NCQA uses selected performance measures from Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS(r)3) combined with their own carefully developed accreditation standards in five key areas of service. An accreditation of "Excellent" by NCQA is reserved for those Managed Care Organization (MCO) products that meet or exceed NCQA's rigorous requirements and that achieve HEDIS(r) results in the highest range of national performance2.

Sentara Healthcare, a premier not-for-profit health care provider in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, is comprised of more than 70 sites of care including 6 acute care hospitals, a hospital for extended recovery, 2 outpatient care campuses, 7 nursing centers, 3 assisted living centers, and 25 primary care practices. Sentara also offers a full range of health plans, home health and hospice services, physical therapy and rehabilitation services, mobile diagnostic vans, and ground and air medical transport services, including Nightingale-the region's only air ambulance service. Sentara was ranked the number one integrated health care network in the United States in 2001 by Modern Healthcare magazine and is the only health care system in the nation to be named in the top 10 for five consecutive years. For more information on Sentara Healthcare or its hospitals, visit www.sentara.com.

Sentara Health Management is the managed care division of Sentara Healthcare and manages the region's first managed care plan, Optima Health Plan. Serving approximately 300,000 members in Virginia through a variety of its health care plans, Sentara Health Management's provider network consists of over 6,000 physicians throughout the commonwealth.4 For five consecutive years, Optima Health Plan has received the highest level of accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). For more information about the Sentara's health plans, visit www.optimahealth.com.

1 National Committee for Quality Assurance, "NCQA Recognizes Nation's Best Health Plans with Introduction of New 'Excellent' Accreditation Status," Press Release, 18 Oct. 1999.
2 National Committee for Quality Assurance, "Guidelines for Advertising NCQA MCO Accreditation," 2002.
3 HEDIS is a registered trademark of NCQA.
4 SHM On-line Provider information, www.optimahealth.com, 11/20/2002

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