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So. California Schools Voluntary Employee Benefits Association Selects PacifiCare Behavioral Health for Comprehensive Mental Health Benefits; * Benefits will cover nearly 84,000 school personnel and their families in San Diego County.

SANTA ANA, Calif., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- PacifiCare Behavioral Health (PBH), a national managed behavioral health care organization, was selected by the Southern California Schools Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (SCSVEBA) to provide comprehensive behavioral health care benefits to nearly 84,000 teachers, administrators, school personnel and their families for 2004 and 2005.

SCSVEBA represents 37,544 teachers, administrators and school personnel in 24 school districts throughout San Diego, one County Office of Education and one association in the Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA).

The selection follows a six-month review conducted by SCSVEBA in which leading behavioral health care insurers competed for the account. Earlier this year, SCSVEBA selected PBH's parent company, PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. , to provide medical health insurance benefits for its members in 2004.

PBH currently provides behavioral health care benefits to 280 school districts, representing more than 400,000 members nationwide.

Under terms of the two-year agreement, PBH will provide SCSVEBA members parity-compliant mental health benefits and complete inpatient and outpatient mental health and chemical dependency coverage. Members will have access to more than 2,370 behavioral clinicians and more than 90 facilities in San Diego and Los Angeles counties.

Additionally, PBH will offer SCSVEBA members its innovative Platinum Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a 24x7 support service that provides members with assistance on a variety of lifestyle issues, encompassing needs from childcare through eldercare. Members can call a toll-free number and receive assistance on identifying and accessing social and community support services as well as receive referrals for face-to-face counseling services. SCSVEBA employees also receive complimentary half-hour consultations with financial planners and family practice attorneys through their Platinum EAP membership.

"PacifiCare presented innovative programs and services that will benefit our members and demonstrated their unique ability to help us analyze and measure the value of these services to our organization. We were especially impressed by their ability to deliver on their promise of clinical quality," said George McGregor, administrator for the SCSVEBA Trust in Southern California. "Teachers, administrators and school staff face a variety of professional and personal challenges in their lives. Providing our members with comprehensive and affordable benefits in this very personal area of health care is an investment we feel strongly about. We're very pleased with our selection of PacifiCare."

"For almost 10 years we have been gaining valuable experience serving our education clients, which helps us better understand their behavioral health needs so we can offer them appropriate, comprehensive behavioral health services," said Jerome Vaccaro, M.D., chief executive officer of PacifiCare Behavioral Health. "We believe this insight reinforces our role as an innovator in providing comprehensive behavioral health benefits and employee assistance programs. We can predict and monitor patient utilization and tailor care programs that enhance treatment quality. We're very pleased to have been selected by Southern California Schools Voluntary Employee Benefits Association, and look forward to serving their members in the years ahead."

About Southern California Schools VEBA

The Southern California Schools VEBA is a cooperative labor-management trust program committed to achieving the highest quality and most cost-effective benefits programs for all education employees. Through the unity of design, purchase, and administration, VEBA participants have control over quality of care and cost. With labor and management joining forces, the trust has more negotiating power with providers than small, individual districts could ever attain. Total participation in VEBA includes 26 districts, one association, and the San Diego County Office of Education, for a 70% market penetration. The program serves 37,544 employees and their dependents, for a total participation of 83,996 members.

About PacifiCare Behavioral Health

PacifiCare Behavioral Health (PBH) provides mental health, chemical dependency and employee assistance services to covered members and maintains a national network of behavioral health care practitioners. All three PBH Service Centers hold three-year, Full Accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the most comprehensive and rigorous accrediting body for managed behavioral health care organizations. PacifiCare Behavioral Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of PacifiCare Health Systems, with clients including health plans, union trust funds, employers, school districts, and public sector agencies. More information on PacifiCare Behavioral Health can be obtained at http://www.pbhi.com/.

About PacifiCare Health Systems

PacifiCare Health Systems is one of the nation's largest consumer health organizations with more than 3 million health plan members and approximately 9 million specialty plan members nationwide. PacifiCare offers individuals, employers and Medicare beneficiaries a variety of consumer-driven health care and life insurance products. Currently, more than 99 percent of PacifiCare's commercial health plan members are enrolled in plans that have received Excellent Accreditation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). PacifiCare's specialty operations include behavioral health, dental and vision, and complete pharmacy and medical management through its wholly owned subsidiary, Prescription Solutions. More information on PacifiCare Health Systems is available at http://www.pacificare.com/.

For further information, please contact Dagmar King of PacifiCare Behavioral Health, +1-714-445-0453, dagmar.king@phs.com, or Dan Miller of PacifiCare Health Systems, +1-714-226-3726, dan.miller@phs.com.

CONTACT: Dagmar King of PacifiCare Behavioral Health, +1-714-445-0453, dagmar.king@phs.com, or Dan Miller of PacifiCare Health Systems, +1-714-226-3726, dan.miller@phs.com

Web site: http://www.pbhi.com/ http://www.pacificare.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 12, 2003
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