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COLUMBIA-PRESBYTERIAN MEDICAL CENTER AWARDS ONE OF THE CITY'S LARGEST MANAGED CARE ACCOUNTS TO OXFORD HEALTH PLANS

 DARIEN, Conn., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- In another dramatic example of the nation's shift toward managed health care, Columbia University and Presbyterian Hospital through the Columbia-Presbyterian Health Partnership (CPHP) have selected Oxford Health Plans to offer health benefits to 10,000 employees at both institutions. Columbia- Presbyterian is New York City's largest medical center and Presbyterian is the first of the New York metropolitan area's leading hospitals to make a commitment of this magnitude to managed care.
 Large Managed Care Account
 Following a thorough review involving major managed care carriers in the region, Oxford was awarded the Columbia and Presbyterian accounts. It is one of the largest managed care installations in New York City.
 "Being selected by an organization so attuned to medical excellence marks a very proud moment in our company's history," said Stephen F. Wiggins, chairman and CEO of Oxford Health Plans.
 Oxford Health Plans currently has 14,000 members in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and is the fastest-growing managed care firm in the region. It is the third largest managed care provider in New York City. That ranking could change, however, because of the affiliation with Columbia-Presbyterian.
 Myron Weisfeldt, M.D., chairman of medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian and chairman of the managed care committee that evaluated competing carriers, detailed the committee's selection decision as follows: "Oxford Health Plans was picked by our physicians because of their commitment to physician satisfaction; quality of the physicians throughout their network; administrative competence; and Oxford's desire for a broad-based relationship."
 The selection process presented a unique challenge because the University and Presbyterian wanted a managed care carrier with which the Medical Center's physicians would feel confident affiliating. In what Dr. Weisfeldt describes as a "vote of confidence," more than 650 physicians have joined the Columbia-Presbyterian Health Partnership, a network to serve Columbia and Presbyterian employees. Many of these same physicians are also joining Oxford's existing network of 6,800 doctors. Thus, Columbia University and Presbyterian Hospital are in the unique situation of being both Oxford customers and providers.
 William Speck, M.D., president of Presbyterian Hospital, sees the affiliation with Oxford as a "powerful partnership that can evolve into many managed care initiatives."
 Towers Perrin, the benefits consulting firm, assisted in the search for a provider.
 Local Ties
 The University and the Columbia University and Presbyterian Hospital considered both national and regional managed care firms and, according to Joseph P. Mullinix, senior vice president of Columbia University, liked Oxford's "close ties to the community. New York," he continued, "is a unique marketplace for healthcare and Oxford demonstrated a good understanding of the local dynamics."
 Flexibility a Must
 Conscious of the rapid changes in the health care environment, Columbia University and Presbyterian Hospital mandated an extremely flexible benefits design and thus selected Oxford's point-of-service plan. A hybrid of managed care and traditional indemnity insurance, the plan allows employees freedom to choose between using CPHP or Oxford network physicians or continuing to visit their personal physicians, even those not in either network. (Oxford calls its point-of-service plan the Freedom Plan.)
 Mr. Mullinix said the point-of-service plan will ensure "as smooth a transition to managed care as possible among a group of employees who, by the very nature of their employer, demand superior medical care."
 Storefront Service
 In another first, Oxford will open on-site "storefront" customer service centers to allow walk-in access for claims questions, billing inquiries and other service. Mr. Mullinix calls the service centers an important step toward "untangling complicated health care coverage and replacing it with a user-friendly system." Employees are also free to discuss their claims via Oxford Health's customer service 800 number.
 Oxford Health Plans is a managed health insurance carrier focusing solely on the New York metropolitan area. Oxford provides programs similar to that for Columbia University and Presbyterian Hospital to 1,500 employers in the metropolitan area as well as individuals. The company is also a provider for Medicare and Medicaid recipients.
 -0- 4/14/93
 /CONTACT: Marianne Flanagan, 212-474-5483, for Oxford Health Plans/


CO: Oxford Health Plans; Columbia-Presbyterian Health Partnership ST: Connecticut, New York IN: HEA INS SU:

GK-LR -- NY021 -- 5568 04/14/93 09:34 EDT
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Date:Apr 14, 1993
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