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VCU Health System and Optima Health agree on joint ownership of Virginia Premier Health Plan

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VCU Health System and Optima Health Plan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sentara Healthcare, have agreed that Optima Health will become the majority owner of Virginia Premier. VCU Health System will retain a 20 percent ownership stake in Virginia Premier. Together, the plans will serve nearly 800,000 members. 
 
Virginia Premier and Optima Health will continue as two separate companies and retain their respective names and brands in the marketplace. Virginia Premier will maintain an operations center in Richmond and a presence in other areas in the Commonwealth. The transaction is expected to be finalized by the spring of 2020, pending state and federal regulatory review and customary closing conditions.  
 
“As provider-led health plans, Optima Health and Virginia Premier share similar cultures, values and a commitment to delivering innovative services that meet the unique needs of the populations we serve,” said Dennis A. Matheis, president of Optima Health and executive vice president of Sentara Healthcare. “Together, we will be better positioned to increase access to quality care, achieve greater efficiencies, and develop new services to improve our members’ overall experience.”
 
The agreement brings together two community-focused, Virginia-based organizations with deep roots in the Medicaid program and experience serving the Commonwealth. Optima Health and Virginia Premier are two of the state’s original Medicaid managed care organizations. 
 
“Both health plans are pioneers in managed Medicaid programs, and we share a long history of caring for Virginia’s most vulnerable residents,” said Linda Hines, CEO of Virginia Premier. “Together, we are strategically positioned to enhance benefits to our members and continue investing in our communities. We look forward to sharing the best from each organization to create new solutions to help all members improve their health while more effectively managing health care costs.” 
 
Optima Health and Virginia Premier health plan members will continue to have access to their doctor and the same benefits and will continue to use their current insurance card. Over time, members will benefit from improved programs and services, and broad access to providers.
 
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About Optima Health
Optima Health, based in Virginia, provides health insurance coverage to more than 510,000 members. With more than 30 years of experience, Optima Health offers a suite of commercial products including consumer-directed, employee-owned and employer-sponsored plans, individual health plans, employee assistance programs and plans serving Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. Its provider network features approximately 30,000 providers including specialists, primary care physicians and hospitals across Virginia. Optima Health also offers programs to support members with chronic illnesses, customized wellness programs and integrated clinical and behavioral health services, as well as pharmacy management—all to help members improve their health every day. The company’s goals are to provide better health, be easy to use and offer services that are a great value. Optima Health is a service of Sentara Healthcare. To learn more about Optima Health, visit www.optimahealth.com.
 
About Virginia Premier
Virginia Premier’s mission is to inspire healthy living within the communities we serve, especially those in need. We do this through innovation, strategic partnerships, industry-leading healthcare and the power of VCU Health. Founded in 1995 as a Medicaid HMO, Virginia Premier is the first and only nonprofit managed care organization in the commonwealth, now serving approximately 280,000 members statewide. In addition to Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance exchange plans, Virginia Premier provides third-party administrative services and runs the Virginia Premier Neighborhood Health Clinic in Roanoke. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of VCU Health System.
 
Media Contacts
Optima Health:
Kelsea Smith
757-671-4971 (24-hour media pager – call or text)
news@sentara.com
 
Virginia Premier:
Pamela Lepley
804-828-6057
pamela.lepley@vcuhealth.org