Huntsville and Sentara health care systems form not-for-profit-company to deliver healthcare services to Medicaid recipients in Alabama.

Sentara Health Plans expands to Alabama

Huntsville Hospital Health System, Sentara Health Plans form first not-for-profit regional care organization in Alabama

Optima Health

Huntsville Hospital Health System in Huntsville, Ala., and Sentara Health Plans, a subsidiary of Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Va., have announced the formation of a new company that will deliver healthcare services to Medicaid recipients in Alabama. The initial plan is to cover more than 120,000 Medicaid enrollees in 10 counties of Northern Alabama.

The new entity will operate as a not-for-profit Regional Care Organization (RCO) and will be responsible for all aspects of care for Medicaid patients in the region. It is anticipated that the new organization, which could employee as many as 400 people between Virginia and Alabama, will be based in Madison County, Alabama.

The Alabama Legislature approved the RCO delivery approach for Medicaid last summer. The legislation created five regions in Alabama and mandated that RCOs be operational by October 2016. Huntsville Hospital Health System along with various Medicaid providers in the region has agreed to partner with Sentara to provide these services for the state of Alabama. Sentara Health Plans has more than 19 years of experience in providing care to Medicaid enrollees in Virginia.

David Spillers, CEO of Huntsville Hospital Health System, said, “Sentara meets all of our requirements for a partner. They are a not-for-profit organization; they have a long history of working well in the communities they serve and they have years of experience working with the Medicaid populations. We anticipate that we will have our organization operational by October 2015, a year ahead of the state requirement.”

Michael M. Dudley, president of Sentara Health Plans and senior vice president of Sentara Healthcare, said, “We are honored to have been selected by Huntsville Hospital Health System to provide Medicaid managed care for the region. The combined strengths of our two organizations will enable Medicaid beneficiaries to have access to quality, affordable health care.”

Both officials said that the details of their operational plan would be finalized in the coming months and is pending final approval from the State of Alabama.