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UnitedHealth Group to Invest $10 Million to Help Improve Healthcare Information Technology Systems at California’s Critical Access Hospitals

UnitedHealth Group also providing $200,000 in grants to assess health IT needs at California’s 31 Critical Access Hospitals

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The investments come from UnitedHealth Group’s 20-year, $200 million California Health Care Investment Program, which helps health care organizations in California access capital

UnitedHealth Group has announced it will invest $10 million to help California’s Critical Access Hospitals improve their health information technology (IT) systems and adopt electronic health records.

California’s Critical Access Hospitals are healthcare facilities with a maximum of 25 beds and located in a rural area at least 35 miles from another hospital, or a rural hospital that is 15 miles from another hospital in mountainous terrain or areas with only secondary roads.

The funds will be made available from UnitedHealth Group’s California Health Care Investment Program, a 20-year, $200 million commitment to healthcare organizations that provide services to underserved, low-income and underinsured communities and populations throughout California.

UnitedHealth Group is also providing $200,000 in grants to the California State Rural Health Association (CSRHA) to assess IT needs at California’s 31 Critical Access Hospitals. Once the assessments are completed, UnitedHealth Group, with input from CSRHA, will select the Critical Access Hospitals that will receive a total of $10 million in capital from UnitedHealth Group for health IT projects.

The selected hospitals will pool together for a $10 million bond offering that will be purchased by UnitedHealth Group at rates that are highly competitive with those of conventional financing. Additionally, UnitedHealth Group’s Capital Access Small Issuance Program will pay the entire bond issuance costs of about $800,000.

“We are grateful for UnitedHealth Group’s grants and investments in our Critical Access Hospitals. The funds will certainly make a lasting impact in our ability to bring access to quality healthcare in communities that need it the most,” said Desiree Rose, CSRHA executive director.

“This grant from UnitedHealth Group and subsequent investment will undoubtedly play a significant role in improving healthcare services provided by California’s Critical Access Hospitals. This is a welcome support that will go a long way toward helping our underserved regions of the Golden State,” said Raymond T. Hino, chairman of the California Critical Access Hospital Network.

“The state of California is committed to transforming our healthcare delivery system by adopting health IT and supporting safe, secure access to personal health information,” said Jonah Frohlich, deputy secretary of health information technology at the California Health and Human Services Agency. “We are excited that UnitedHealth Group and CSRHA have teamed up to support Critical Access Hospitals, enhancing the communities and beneficiaries they serve. These funds augment investments made by our agency to assess the capacity of Critical Access Hospitals to implement, use and sustain health IT and exchange services.”

“UnitedHealth Group is committed to investing in California’s healthcare infrastructure to help ensure that all Californians have access to care,” said Steve Nelson, West Region CEO, UnitedHealthcare. “California’s Critical Access Hospitals play a vital role in sustaining the health and well-being of so many communities statewide. It is important that they have access to technology that will enable them to deliver quality care to their patients.”

UnitedHealth Group’s UnitedHealthcare business offers health benefits, including commercial and Medicare health plans, to more than 2.8 million Californians, and partners with about 50,000 physicians across the state.

About UnitedHealth Group UnitedHealth Group (www.unitedhealthgroup.com) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making healthcare work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of health benefit programs through UnitedHealthcare, Ovations and AmeriChoice, and health services through Ingenix, OptumHealth and Prescription Solutions. Through its family of businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 75 million people worldwide.

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Posted September 1, 2010

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