Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Named #1 Health Plan In America

WELLESLEY, Mass., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is the #1 health plan in America for both member satisfaction and clinical quality, according to The State of Health Care Quality 2004, a comprehensive report issued by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a private non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality.

Each year, NCQA issues two "top ten" lists of the nation's top-performing health plans in terms of quality of care and member satisfaction. "Harvard Pilgrim has achieved an unprecedented milestone by becoming the first health plan to be rated #1 in both Member Satisfaction and Effectiveness of Care. This is an impressive accomplishment and one that demonstrates Harvard Pilgrim's commitment to delivering quality health care to its members," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane.

"We work hard every day to ensure that our members get excellent care and great service, and it's very gratifying to see that our efforts have paid off," said Charles D. Baker, President and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. "Our strategy has been to support the relationship between our members and their doctors with outreach, online support and incentives that reward high quality. Also, our front-line member service representatives are extraordinary when it comes to their knowledge, responsiveness and problem- solving skills. Basically, all parts of Harvard Pilgrim work collaboratively to help make our members' experience the best in the nation."

The data reported in the State of Health Care Quality 2004 report is drawn from NCQA's Quality Compass(R) 2004, which publicly reports comparative results of more than 260 commercial health plans covering more than 61 million Americans. NCQA data is widely considered to provide the most objective, comprehensive health plan performance measures.

One of the nation's leading financial services companies, John Hancock, a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, has long partnered with Harvard Pilgrim to provide coverage to its employees and their dependents. "At John Hancock, we are delighted that our strong strategic partnership with Harvard Pilgrim has resulted in a host of innovative programs focused on medical management, health education and member services," said Peter J. Mongeau, Vice President-Compensation and Benefits, John Hancock. "It is important to us to offer our employees high quality benefits and it is gratifying to know that NCQA found Harvard Pilgrim to be the best plan in the country."

"Being named the number one health plan in the country for our clinical measures is the result of a mutual commitment and dedication to quality by Harvard Pilgrim and the tens of thousands of medical professionals that care for our members," said Roberta Herman, MD, Harvard Pilgrim's SVP and Chief Medical Officer.

  Harvard Pilgrim's quality improvement initiatives include:

   --  Innovative and effective approaches to disease prevention and the
       management of chronic disease and condition management such as
       asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes, pregnancy, osteoporosis,
       menopause and many others,

   --  Comprehensive care management programs, such as Health Advance, a
       predictive modeling program that goes beyond traditional case

   --  Harvard Pilgrim ... At Work for You and other health education
       programs that have real impact on members right at their workplaces,

   --  Web-based health support and services such as Ask A Specialist,

   --  Patient safety programs, such as a medication error program for
       seniors to protect them from taking multiple medications
       unnecessarily, and

   --  Numerous provider collaborations that include financial incentives to
       improve performance, such as Quality Awards, Physician Honor Roll,
       and others.

Harvard Pilgrim was named the #1 plan in the country for member satisfaction thanks to its dedicated member services representatives who consistently earn high scores for their responsiveness to member needs. J.D. Power and Associates has also recognized Harvard Pilgrim as a Distinguished Health Plan for providing "An Outstanding Member Experience" to its HMO members in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Harvard Pilgrim is the first health plan to achieve this distinction for HMO members in all three states.

The NCQA is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. The organization is widely recognized by employers, consumers and others as the most trusted, reliable source of information about the quality of the nation's health care system. Additional information on the NCQA can be found at http://www.ncqa.org/ .

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is a not-for-profit health plan with approximately 800,000 members and a network of more than 22,000 doctors and 130 hospitals. Harvard Pilgrim provides innovative approaches to health improvement and disease management, unique online tools that speed and simplify key transactions for employers and providers and personalized health support at http://www.harvardpilgrim.org/ .

HEDIS(R) is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

CAHPS(R) is a registered trademark of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

* The source for this data is Quality Compass(R) 2004 and is used with the permission of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Quality Compass is a registered trademark of NCQA. NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality.

Contact: Sharon Torgerson (617) 509-7458 sharon_torgerson@hphc.org

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

CONTACT: Sharon Torgerson of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care,+1-617-509-7458, sharon_torgerson@hphc.org

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