SOURCE: The Sentinel Group

October 22, 2007 13:27 ET

The Sentinel Group Signs Western Growers Assurance Trust to Receive Its Health Claim Anti-Fraud Services

LAKE FOREST, IL--(Marketwire - October 22, 2007) - The Sentinel Group, a leader in health claim fraud and abuse services, recently signed Western Growers Assurance Trust (WGAT), a non-profit provider of health benefits for the agricultural industry, as a new client.

The Sentinel Group will review and evaluate all medical claims submitted to WGAT for possible fraud or abuse. According to the General Accounting Office, it's estimated that up to 10 percent of all healthcare claims that insurance companies and third party administrators (TPAs) receive are fraudulent, abusive or erroneous. By conservative estimates, that's more than $200 annually for each American. Through its screening and investigation of suspect billing practices, The Sentinel Group saves its clients money that would otherwise be paid on fraudulent and abusive health claims.

"We chose The Sentinel Group to scrutinize incoming health claims for fraud in order to do everything possible to protect each participant in the Trust," said David Zanze, WGAT Senior Vice President. "We want to be sure our claims payments benefit members, not end up in defrauders' pockets."

"California and Arizona growers work hard, and our investigators work to protect their benefits dollars," said Julie Malida, Sentinel Group President. "In today's healthcare environment with fraud statistics going through the roof, it makes solid business sense for every organization dealing with health claims to make sure an anti-fraud program is in place."

About Western Growers

Western Growers is an Irvine, Calif.-based agricultural trade association whose members grow, pack and ship 90 percent of the fresh vegetables and nearly 70 percent of the fresh fruit and nuts grown in Arizona and California, about one-half of the nation's produce. Western Growers Assurance Trust, established for 50 years, is the largest provider of health benefits for the agricultural industry, and is governed by its members. More than 200 WGAT employees provide customer service, claims processing, bilingual representation, billing and administrative services to members.

About The Sentinel Group

The Sentinel Group, a division of Optimal Benefits Services, Inc., based in Lake Forest, Ill., is a recognized leader in the healthcare anti-fraud and abuse industry. The company has the largest team of fraud investigators, and is supported by sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology and years of in-depth intelligence gathered nationwide from healthcare providers. For more information, visit

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