SOURCE: LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc.

July 21, 2005 08:30 ET

LifeMasters Launches Medicare Health Support Program in Oklahoma

Among the First Groups to Launch; LifeMasters Now Has 100K Government Segment Program Participants Under Contract

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 21, 2005 -- LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, a national leader providing disease management programs and services, announced today that it has launched one of the nation's first Medicare Health Support Programs to serve approximately 20,000 fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes and/or congestive heart failure throughout the state of Oklahoma.

The Medicare Health Support Program (formerly known as the Chronic Care Improvement Program) was created by passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. The three-year pilot program is one of several regional pilot programs that provide large-scale population-based disease management interventions to the fee-for-service Medicare population who are invited to participate in the pilot. The overall goal is to increase beneficiaries' compliance with evidence-based guidelines, decrease medical costs and improve health outcomes.

"Until now, the people in this country who have the most to gain from proven approaches to prevent complications from chronic illnesses have had the least access to these services," said Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), who oversees the Medicare Health Support Program. "We are strengthening the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program to help address the problems that arise when health care is fragmented and not oriented toward prevention. That means supporting and improving physician/patient relationships, providing physicians with timely and accurate information on their patients' status, and helping patients carry out the plans of care that their physicians prescribe."

LifeMasters Executive Chairman, Christobel Selecky, commented, "We are pleased to begin providing our programs to Medicare beneficiaries throughout Oklahoma. CMS has taken a leadership role in promoting the benefits of disease management through a number of projects that will evaluate a variety of disease management models for the Medicare population, and we are proud to be participating in this landmark program. We believe this is a great opportunity for disease management organizations to help shape the future of health care delivery in the nation. LifeMasters has long had a commitment to offering the advantages of disease management to underserved populations such as Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries throughout the United States who often suffer from multiple chronic diseases and may need our services the most."

The launch of this program further deepens LifeMasters' ongoing commitment and leadership in providing disease management services to government health program beneficiaries to create full-service disease management programs that positively impact the health of the chronically ill across the nation while decreasing their medical costs.

Once fully operational, this program, combined with several others either in place or in progress, brings to nearly 100,000 the number of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in LifeMasters' disease management programs throughout the nation. Other programs include a long-standing relationship with Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), the state agency that administers Florida's Medicaid Program; a CMS demonstration project in Florida covering 30,000 Medicare and Medicaid "dual-eligible" beneficiaries with congestive heart failure (CHF), coronary artery disease (CAD) and/or diabetes launched in January 2005, a second Medicare Health Support program to be launched in collaboration with Aetna in the Chicago area, a recently implemented contract with a large Medicaid managed care organization, ongoing Medicare Advantage programs with other existing clients, and a Medicaid managed care program called Salud, part of Presbyterian Health Plan in New Mexico -- the state's largest locally owned healthcare system.

Selecky concluded, "This recent growth in our government-based business, combined with the significant growth we continue to experience in our health plan and employer market segments, is the result of our focused strategy to diversify our revenues and gain broad market exposure by developing and offering disease management programs that meet the specific needs of a variety of payer types."

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) and asthma (all of which are fully accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)), hypertension, and musculo-skeletal pain. LifeMasters' programs are holistically focused and support clinical co-morbidities such as depression and facilitate lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and weight loss. LifeMasters provides services to more than 400,000 people throughout the nation.

Founded in 1994 by a Harvard-trained 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 http://www.lifemasters.com or by calling 1-800-760-9261.

About the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administers the Medicare program and works in partnership with the States to administer Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and health insurance portability standards. CMS has other responsibilities, including the administrative simplification standards from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), quality standards in health care facilities through its survey and certification activity, and clinical laboratory quality standards. About 83 million beneficiaries, or more than 1 in 4 Americans, receive health care coverage through Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP. Medicare covers almost 42 million people, and about 43 million are covered by Medicaid (including approximately 6 million who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid). CMS spends 20 percent of the Federal Government's dollars. In FY 2005, CMS will spend about $519 billion or about 45 percent of the nation's health care dollars.

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