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ARTICLE More Arizona Companies Turning to UnitedHealthcare's Medical Home Program to Improve Employee Health, Control Costs

PHOENIX (March 24, 2011) – Dozens of Arizona employers are turning to an innovative health care program by UnitedHealthcare and IBM that helps patients receive more comprehensive and better coordinated care from their primary-care physicians.

UnitedHealthcare and IBM launched the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program in Arizona in 2009. Since then, more than 30 additional employers with operations in Arizona have opted to participate in the program, which offers each patient an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician who, in turn, leads a team that takes collective responsibility for each patient's care. The result is a greater level of proactive and personalized care, helping coordinate visits to specialists, mental health professional and health education.

The Arizona program currently includes seven medical practices and 25 physicians in Phoenix and Tucson, serving hundreds of adults and children. The program is considered among the most advanced PCMH offerings in the nation.

"UnitedHealthcare, the participating physicians and the companies that have joined the program are committed to helping provide Arizonans with more centralized and comprehensive care that is focused on preventive care and disease prevention," said Sam Ho, M.D., UnitedHealthcare's executive vice president and chief medical officer. "We believe the Patient-Centered Medical Home model enhances the delivery of higher-quality, more coordinated care, while improving outcomes and reducing health care costs, in large part because of the outstanding work being performed by the participating physicians. We will continue to share our experiences in implementing this new model of care with Arizona customers, physicians, hospitals, and government and state leaders."

The Arizona PCMH program, which is among the earliest efforts in the United States to broadly implement the medical home model, is open to UnitedHealthcare's employer-sponsored, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plan participants in Arizona. UnitedHealthcare is also involved in medical home programs in other states including Colorado, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island.

"At IBM, we agree that established and continuous access to a personal, primary-care physician who really looks out for the whole person and not just a disease is proven to produce materially better health outcomes at lower costs," said Martin Sepulveda, M.D., vice president of IBM's integrated health services. "It is exciting that other companies in Arizona have joined this transformative pilot program, which we believe is improving the health, well-being and productivity of our work force."

The Arizona program has been recognized for its ability to help enhance health care safety and quality while reducing costs. The National Business Coalition of Health (NBCH) previously recognized UnitedHealthcare with an eValue8 Health Plan Innovation Award to recognize the PCMH program's value to employers and their workers.

The PCMH model has been developed by primary-care physicians in the United States including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Academy of Pediatricians.

"We know that having healthy employees will result in improved productivity, higher morale and a stronger organization, which is why we decided to join the medical home program," said Bob Beake, vice president of human resources at Shamrock Foods Company. "We are confident that our employees are benefitting from the improved care coordination."

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare (www.unitedhealthcare.com) provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services to individuals, public sector employers and businesses of all sizes, including more than half of the Fortune 100 companies. The company organizes access to quality, affordable health care services on behalf of approximately 25 million individual consumers, contracting directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals to offer them broad, convenient access to services nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.