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THREE TOP HEALTH CARE ORGANIZATIONS FORM JOINT VENTURE

 MINNEAPOLIS, July 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Three leading health care organizations have signed an agreement which combines their strengths and expertise in order to offer comprehensive health services, control health care costs and continually improve the quality of care for employers and their employees.
 The agreement formed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSM), Methodist Hospital and Park Nicollet Medical Center, forms the First Integrated Holding Company. BCBSM will own 50 percent of the company while Methodist Hospital and Park Nicollet each will have a 25 percent ownership stake. The four-member board will consist of two representatives form BCBCM and one each from Methodist and Park Nicollet.
 First Integrated Holding Co. will design and market products initially for self-insured employers, with a targeted emphasis on businesses in the west metro area. "By Sept. 1, the new organization will offer clients access to new managed care choices," said Andy Czajkowski, BCBSM president and chief executive officer. "In the long term, the jointly held corporation will focus on vertically integrating the delivery and financing of health care -- an integrated service network (ISN) -- which provides the full continuum of health care services to a defined population."
 While the organizations already work together as an insurer and providers of health care, the joint venture formalizes an exclusive provider organization (EPO). "Employers are asking for the products the First Integrated will be able to deliver. These products will features Methodist and Park Nicollet. The agreement is flexible so that products can be designed to respond to marketplace demands to include independent physicians on the Methodist medical staff and other metropolitan providers when it would increase the customer value of the products," said Terry Finzen, Methodist Hospital president. "In addition, the framework will augment specialty referral business from other networks in the region," he said.
 The new company provides the framework to deliver to businesses the high quality, cost-effective health care services that BCBSM, Methodist and Park Nicollet are already known for. However, the agreement does not prevent the three organizations from continuing existing partnerships or striking similar partnerships with other organizations. "We believe that carefully chosen relationships with long term partners is the key to providing our patients and purchasers with high quality, cost-effective care," said Charles Jacobson, M.D., Park Nicollet CEO and president. "The partnership with BCBSM, Methodist and Park Nicollet is one such alliance."
 The new company plans to have products in the marketplace by Sept. 1 of this year. The new health plans would take effect for employers Jan. 1, 1994.
 BCBSM, a leader in developing innovative relationships with hospitals and physicians, is the state's oldest and largest health coverage carrier. Currently, nearly 1.2 million members are covered by BCBSM health plans or plans administered by the company.
 Methodist Hospital, a 426-bed acute care hospital specializes in five areas: an Emergency Center, Cardiac Care, Maternity Care, a Cancer Center, and the Institute for Rehabilitation Services. The hospital employs 2,750 people and has an 800-member medical staff.
 Park Nicollet Medical Center is one of the largest multispecialty group practices in the United States. More than 360 physicians and some 2,000 health care professional provide care in 45 specialties and subspecialties at 19 metropolitan locations.
 Methodist Hospital and Park Nicollet are members of HealthSystem Minnesota, a not-for-profit parent corporation based in St. Louis Park, Minn.
 -0- 7/01/93
 /CONTACT: Mark Heymans, 612-456-8786, or Karl Oestreich, 612-456-1502, both of Blue Cross and Blues Shield; or Judy Brenner of Methodist Hospital, 612-932-6057; or Lisa Graham-Peterson, of Park Nicollet, 612-927-3610/


CO: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota; Methodist Hospital; Park
 Nicollet Medical Center ST: Minnesota IN: HEA SU: JVN


DB -- MN018 -- 7828 07/01/93 14:56 EDT
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Date:Jul 1, 1993
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