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Sentara Healthcare and VCU Health System finalize joint ownership of Virginia Premier Health Plan

Patient talking with health care provider in a consultation

Sentara Healthcare and VCU Health System have finalized a previously announced transaction for joint ownership of Virginia Premier health plan. Sentara Healthcare is now the majority owner, and VCU Health System retains a 20 percent ownership stake of Virginia Premier.

Virginia Premier and Optima Health Plan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sentara Healthcare, now operate as separate companies under Sentara Healthcare, each with a different leadership structure and separate board of directors. In total, the plans serve more than 840,000 members.

“We recognize this news comes as the Sentara Healthcare and VCU Health System families are going above and beyond to help our patients, communities and fellow team members navigate a global public health crisis,” said Howard P. Kern, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare. “Now more than ever, it is critical we work together to optimize our health plans’ combined strength to ensure access to quality care and support services for everyone we serve. With our combined history and experience serving the Medicaid population, this partnership will also ensure the most vulnerable have access to care during this public health crisis.”

The transaction brings together two mission-driven, Virginia-based organizations with a long history of caring for residents of the commonwealth. Optima Health and Virginia Premier are two of the state’s original Medicaid-managed care organizations and have deep experience serving the most vulnerable patients across the commonwealth.

“Both Virginia Premier and Optima Health are pioneers in Medicaid-managed care programs and have provided services to Virginians for more than two decades,” said Peter Buckley, M.D., interim CEO of VCU Health System. “Together, the health plans are strategically positioned to draw upon that history and expertise to share best practices and invest in innovations that help all members achieve better health while more effectively managing health care costs.”

Optima Health and Virginia Premier health plan members will continue to have access to their doctors and the same benefits. Over time, members will benefit from improved programs and services, and broad access to providers.