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CMS Awards $88.5M Loan To Massachusetts For New Health Insurance Model: Minuteman Health

Tufts Medical Center, New England Quality Care Alliance and Vanguard Health Systems sponsor important initiative for Massachusetts

BOSTON, Aug. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tufts Medical Center, its New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA) physicians network and Vanguard Health Systems (NYSE: VHS) are proud to sponsor the Minuteman Health Initiative, which has received an $88.5 million loan from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This new member-governed, non-profit health insurance option for Massachusetts residents intends to offer consumers and employers lower-cost, high-quality care with unprecedented transparency, as well as increased efficiency and satisfaction for physicians, patients and employers alike.  Plan members will ultimately govern this health plan via Minuteman's unique ownership structure.

"This funding is fantastic news for consumers, employers and health care providers in Massachusetts," said Eric Beyer, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children. "Tufts Medical Center has been an innovator in health care since it was founded by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. Tufts MC, its community hospital affiliates and NEQCA have been widely recognized for leading the effort to provide high quality health care in a cost efficient way to consumers in the Commonwealth. This smart new model for health plans will further our revolutionary legacy and our focus on quality and efficiency by providing great new health insurance options to small businesses and individuals."

"This loan is an endorsement of the success that Minuteman Health will achieve as a non-profit, consumer-controlled health insurance provider. Improving efficiency and reducing administrative is a smart solution to keep premiums low for Massachusetts business owners and consumers while delivering high quality care," said Senator John Kerry. "Their promise of transparency in billing helps ensure consumers understand what they're paying for. In May, I asked Secretary Sebelius to consider Minuteman Health's proposal because it is an exemplary model for the types of provider solutions that are called for by the Affordable Care Act."

"The Minuteman Initiative will offer Massachusetts residents additional choices and administrative simplicity, while also improving quality of care. This effort is another example of national leadership in health innovation that is the hallmark of Massachusetts health care," said Congressman Edward J. Markey, dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation.

"Congratulations to all those who have cooperated to create the Minuteman Health Initiative. It is the first such venture in Massachusetts to be funded through the Affordable Care Act.  The ACA encourages innovation in the structure and governance of health plans, as hospitals and doctors seek to control cost and improve quality of care.  I will watch Minuteman's progress with great interest," said Congressman Mike Capuano.   

Tufts MC and its nearly 1,600 member New England Quality Care Alliance physicians' network (NEQCA), along with Nashville-based Vanguard Health Systems, are sponsoring the Minuteman Health initiative. Minuteman's network will include the hospitals and doctors of Tufts MC and Floating Hospital for Children, NEQCA and Vanguard-owned MetroWest Medical Center and Saint Vincent Hospital, and will seek to establish a broad network of high-quality, lower-cost providers across the state.  Seventeen hospitals have already signed letters of support, and Minuteman looks forward to growing its network over the coming year.

"Our goal is to create a smart, efficient health insurance model that keeps administrative costs low.  We plan to use the knowledge we have gained from decades of experience with patients to craft this offering and meet the needs of consumers and physicians. For example: patients consistently tell us they are confused by medical bills, so we would like to provide members with a single, easy to understand bill for all the services they receive from all different providers. We want to relieve providers' administrative burden so they have more time to focus on care. This is a model built for the long-term success of everyone involved," Beyer said.

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