GHI JOINS NATIONAL SOLUTION TO EASE CREDENTIALING BURDEN

WASHINGTON, DC - 12/21/04

A national effort to streamline the credentialing process for healthcare providers is quickly gaining momentum in New York, according to the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH), a not-for-profit alliance of leading health plans and networks. CAQH launched its free Universal Credentialing DataSource service in the state in 2002 to provide a single source for submitting required credentialing data to participating healthcare organizations. Group Health Incorporated (GHI), one of the regions largest provider networks, is now the latest to join the more than 50 healthcare organizations participating in the initiative nationwide.

GHI, a not-for-profit health insurer which provides coverage to employer groups and small businesses as well as medical coverage for the City of New York and all of its Municipal Union contracts, will make Universal Credentialing DataSource available to 65,000 physicians and allied health professionals in its network. Each week, hundreds of New York physicians join the more than 140,000 nationwide who have tapped into Universal Credentialing DataSource as a simple alternative to the time-consuming and redundant paperwork associated with traditional credentialing data submission. Leading medical authorities also have embraced the service ­ the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recently endorsed Universal Credentialing DataSource for use by its 94,000 members, and the American College of Physicians (ACP) has given its formal support.

“GHI is proud to be part of this growing effort to create an industry standard for credentialing data submission,?said Aran Ron, MD, Chief Medical Officer, GHI. “New York’s healthcare community has embraced Universal Credentialing DataSource, and we are pleased to offer the many benefits of a simplified approach to credentialing to our provider network.?

As more healthcare organizations participate in Universal Credentialing DataSource, it becomes an even more valuable tool for providers and their staff. CAQH has actively recruited health plans, networks and other healthcare organizations in New York to join. With the addition of GHI, the state now has 16 participants including Aetna, Atlantis Health Plan, Capital District Physicians?Health Plan, CIGNA HealthCare, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Excellus Health Plans, The First Health Network, Great-West Healthcare, Health Insurance Plan of New York, Health Net of the Northeast, Inc., MVP Health Care, Oxford Health Plans, Preferred Care, Rochester Community IPA, and UnitedHealthcare.

“The widespread support we are seeing for Universal Credentialing DataSource from the healthcare community is testament to the fact that the industry can work together to successfully solve the administrative challenges that have long been associated with the credentialing process,?said Paul F. Macielak, president and CEO of the New York Health Plan Association.

With Universal Credentialing DataSource, information is entered one time, online or by fax, to satisfy the credentialing and recredentialing applications of all participating healthcare organizations. Simple updates help ensure that practice information is always up-to-date, and changes are automatically sent to healthcare organizations authorized by each physician.

About CAQH

The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) is a not-for-profit alliance of health plans and networks that promotes collaborative initiatives to help make healthcare more affordable, share knowledge to improve the quality of care, and make administration easier for physicians and their patients. For more information, please visit www.caqh.org.

About Group Health Incorporated

GHI is a statewide not-for-profit health insurer serving New Yorkers since 1937. GHI and its wholly owned subsidiary, GHI HMO, provide health insurance and administrative services to more than 2.6 million people. GHI offers customers a variety of medical, hospital, dental, prescription drug, and vision options, as well as administrative-services-only arrangements.

CONTACT:
Jon Wentzel
(202) 778-3271

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