NU Online News Service, Nov. 10, 2003, 6:53 p.m. EST — Las Vegas

Dr. Sam Ho, senior vice president and chief medical officer of PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., Cypress, Calif., received the third annual Innovators Award at a special presentation today during the health insurance industry’s 2003 Forum and Exhibit in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jointly sponsored by the AAHP/HIAA, National Underwriter, and Witt/Kieffer, the Innovators Award recognizes the contributions of health insurance executives whose work has not only benefited their companies, but has had a significant, positive and transformational effect on the industry as a whole.

A member of the selection committee, Ed Berube, presented the award to Ho for his pioneering work in making consumers more aware of quality considerations in selecting health care providers.

“By creating a measurement and rating tool that evaluates quality and performance, Dr. Ho has helped PacifiCare’s patients and their doctors access vital information that allows them to make better informed, more prudent and more cost-effective decisions about their health care,” said Berube, president and chief executive of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Chicago.

Among Ho’s achievements is the development of the innovative QUALITY INDEX profile of Medical Groups. The index, first launched in 1998, is an unprecedented, consumer-focused report card for medical group performance. Earlier this year, Ho developed a similar report for PacifiCare’s contracted hospitals in California, the QUALITY INDEX profile of Hospitals.

Ho has has implemented progressive disease management and health improvement programs that have demonstrated improved outcomes for patients with conditions such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic lung disease and renal failure.

“Leaders in the health insurance industry understand as never before the crucial roles innovation and leadership play in reaching goals and objectives,” said AAHP/HIAA President Karen Ignagni. “The people nominated for the Innovator’s Award use their strengths to enhance our industry for consumers. Strategic leadership, management skills and decision-making capabilities are among their many talents. Because their innovation leads to success, they shape their organizations and, ultimately, the health insurance industry at large.”

Berube announced that the 2003 Innovators Award runner-up title has gone to Dr. Alan Muney, chief medical officer and executive vice president at Oxford Health Plans Inc., Trumbull, Conn. Muney has created Oxford’s Internet-based Best Practices Program, a program established to ensure that all of the physicians in Oxford’s networks practice evidence-based medicine in accordance with clinical guidelines.

Judging criteria for the Innovators’ Award included a clear-cut display of executive innovation and leadership in the health insurance industry, as well as the effect of the innovation on the consumer, the company and the health insurance industry as a whole.

In addition to Berube, the selection committee for the 2003 award consisted of Steve Piontek, editor-in-chief of National Underwriter magazine, and Mike Meyer, senior vice president at Witt/Kieffer.

The 2003 Forum and Exhibit is the first national meeting of AAHP/HIAA, the new health care trade association formed by the recent merger of the American Association of Health Plans and the Health Insurance Association of America.

The sponsors:

- AAHP/HIAA is the trade organization that represents the private health care system. Its nearly 1,300 member companies provide health, long term care, dental, disability, and supplemental coverage for more than 200 million Americans.

- Witt/Kieffer is a preeminent executive search firm. It identifies outstanding leadership solutions for organizations committed to improving the quality of life. It has a 30-year track record of recruiting the best leaders in health care, insurance, managed care and education.

- National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, the parent of the NU Online News Service, is a weekly magazine that covers the life, health and financial services industries.