SOURCE: LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc.

March 21, 2006 09:00 ET

LifeMasters Forms Community Advisory Council to Enhance Medicare Health Support Program in Oklahoma

LifeMasters Partners With Key Stakeholder Organizations to Ensure Local Needs Are Understood and Met

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 21, 2006 -- LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc., a leading provider of disease management programs and services in the nation, announces the formation of a broad-based Community Advisory Council in Oklahoma to support the successful operation and outcome of the Medicare Health Support program, a three-year pilot program launched in August 2005.

Medicare Health Support is a voluntary pilot program offered at no cost to approximately 160,000 pre-selected fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with congestive heart failure and/or diabetes in eight regions across the country. LifeMasters is implementing the program in Oklahoma which will provide approximately 20,000 Medicare beneficiaries with health education, support and special services to help them take better care of their individual health needs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was authorized by Congress to initiate the pilot programs across the country through passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003.

"Medicare Health Support is a program that will be effective and successful for all parties involved. Through helping chronically ill seniors better manage their health, we are saving millions in avoidable hospital costs while bettering the lives of seniors across the state of Oklahoma," said Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services when the program launched in August 2005.

More than 35 national organizations, including the AARP and the American Diabetes Association among many others, are helping CMS promote awareness and understanding of the Medicare Health Support pilot program nationwide. Programs offer self-care guidance and support to chronically ill beneficiaries to help them manage their health, adhere to their physicians' plans of care, and ensure that they seek and obtain Medicare-covered benefits that will help reduce their health risks.

The mission of the Oklahoma Community Advisory Council is to provide a forum for collaboration, communication and input between LifeMasters and all key stakeholder organizations who share in the administration of healthcare programs and services to Medicare beneficiaries throughout the state. The Advisory Council meets quarterly and provides grass-roots feedback both to LifeMasters and CMS about progress of the Medicare Health Support program, assists in problem-solving obstacles and issues in program implementation, shares information about local community resources and makes recommendations for improvement to the program.

Oklahoma Community Advisory Council members include representatives from governmental organizations, not-for-profit organizations, tribal entities, academic institutions and healthcare provider systems throughout the state of Oklahoma. For a full list of advisory council members, please visit www.lifemasters.com/mhs/advisorycouncil/.

"We feel it is important to combine the scalability of centralized disease management service delivery with a deep understanding of the local market and therefore look forward to the valuable information exchange and guidance the Advisory Council will provide," said Meredith Mathews, M.D., LifeMasters Chief Medical Officer. "We all have a stake in improving the health of Medicare beneficiaries across the state and the work of the members of this council will greatly contribute to the success of the Oklahoma Medicare Health Support Program."

"We are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for Medicare beneficiaries," said advisory council member Nancy Coffer, Oklahoma State Director of the AARP. "As part of our commitment, we have joined the effort to create awareness about the Oklahoma Medicare Health Support program and look forward to working with LifeMasters and CMS to improve the healthcare of chronically-ill Oklahoma seniors."

About LifeMasters Supported SelfCare

LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc. is a leading provider of disease management programs and services that create health partnerships among individuals, their physicians and payors. Its mission is to empower individuals to achieve and maintain optimal health. The programs improve quality of care for people with chronic illnesses, reduce chronic-disease costs for payors and provide decision-support tools for physicians. LifeMasters offers programs for individuals with diabetes, congestive heart failure (CHF), coronary artery disease (CAD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) hypertension and asthma (all of which are fully accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and URAC) and musculo-skeletal pain. LifeMasters' programs are holistically focused and support co-morbidities such as depression and facilitate lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and weight loss. LifeMasters provides services to more than 610,000 people throughout the nation.

Founded in 1994 by a physician, LifeMasters works with some of the nation's leading health plans, employers, retirement systems and governmental organizations, including Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (Medicaid) and CMS. More information about LifeMasters can be found at www.lifemasters.com or by calling 1-800-777-1307.

Contact Information