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Cooper to acquire stake in AmeriHealth NJ

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Cooper University Health Care is acquiring a 20 percent interest in AmeriHealth New Jersey, with the option to purchase additional equity at a later time, in a bid to offer new health plan options for employers and consumers, the companies announced today.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Through the joint effort, they will offer new, affordable health plan options for New Jersey employers and consumers including insured, self-insured and Medicare products. It will also help patients navigate the health care system and ensure more cost-efficient, coordinated care.

Cooper University Health Care includes a 600-bed hospital, a staff of more than 500 employees and 100 outpatient offices in South Jersey, and serves more than 500,000 patients a year, according to the company. AmeriHealth currently has 210,000 New Jersey policyholders.

“We understand the changing dynamics of the health care system and bring
to this partnership a record of innovation, as we have already begun to create new delivery systems that are transforming patient care,” said Eli T. Winkler, senior vice president for growth and development at Cooper University Health Care. “Our plan is to offer products in the near future that will hopefully attract a wider patient base.”

Winkler cited the case of Cooper employee Ann Buchanan, a cancer survivor and member of the new employee-centered medical home program, a variation on the patient-centered medical home. In this model, a primary-care provider works collaboratively with specialists, lab, imaging and others to manage complex care cases like Buchanan’s. Last week, immediately following some lab work to review her immune system, she was on the phone with her doctors discussing the results.

“What this program does is create true shared responsibility,” Winkler said. “Patients are closely monitored to try and keep them out the hospital, patient satisfaction is soaring, and costs are controlled.”

Buchanan couldn’t be more happy with the program.

“My doctor communicates with me and also talks with all of the specialists involved in my care on a regular basis,” she said. “This is the best outpatient care you can possibly receive.”

“We’re creating groundbreaking new models that provide superior care and lower costs,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, the corporate parent of AmeriHealth New Jersey. “We’re forging powerful partnerships with other leaders in health care to create new products and services, and we’re advancing market-leading health plans that exceed our customers’ expectations.”

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