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

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Norfolk, VA - November 25, 2003 - Health plans administered by Sentara Health Management have received the highest level of accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), marking the sixth consecutive year of recognition.

This year four of Sentara's health plans-Optima Health Plan's commercial HMO and Medicaid HMO plans, Optima Health Insurance Company's commercial POS plan, and the commercial HMO plan of Sentara Health Plans Inc.-are named in an elite group in the nation recognized with "Excellent" accreditation by NCQA. Optima Health Plan is Virginia's only commercial HMO to maintain NCQA's highest accreditation status since 1998 1.

"We are extremely pleased to consistently earn NCQA's highest accreditation," says Michael M. Dudley, president of Sentara Health Management. "We credit the doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers who work together to help members improve their health."

NCQA is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to providing information on the quality of health plans2. During the accreditation process, all aspects of a health plan are evaluated-everything from member satisfaction to its wellness programs.

"Our members' health comes first," Dudley says. "NCQA has challenged health plans to continually improve 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 its own carefully developed accreditation standards in five key areas-access and service, qualified providers, staying healthy, getting better, and living with illness. 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 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 the last six years, Optima Health Plan has received the highest level of accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)1, for more information about the Sentara's health plans, visit www.optimahealth.com.

NCQA is a resource for consumers to easily access health plans' accreditation status. For more information on NCQA, visit their website at www.ncqa.org.

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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