Sentara is now majority owner.
Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare and Richmond-based VCU Health System finalized their previously announced joint ownership of the Virginia Premier health plan on Wednesday. Sentara is now the majority owner and VCU Health has a 20% ownership stake of Virginia Premier, a Medicaid managed care organization.
Sentara announced the agreement in September 2019, which will serve more than 840,000 people. Virginia Premier and Optima Health Plan, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sentara, will operate as separate companies under Sentara. The health care systems will each have a different leadership structure and board of directors.
“We recognize this news comes as the Sentara Healthcare and VCU Health System families are going above and beyond to help our patients, communities and fellow team members navigate a global public health crisis,” Howard P. Kern, president and CEO of Sentara, said in a statement. “Now more than ever, it is critical we work together to optimize our health plans’ combined strength to ensure access to quality care and support services for everyone we serve.”
Optima Health and Virginia Premier were two of Virginia’s first health care organizations to provide Medicaid managed care.
“Together, the health plans are strategically positioned to draw upon that history and expertise to share best practices and invest in innovations that help all members achieve better health while more effectively managing health care costs,” Dr. Peter Buckley, interim CEO of the VCU Health System, said in a statement.
Optima Health and Virginia Premier health plan members will still have access to their same doctors and benefits, according to the news release.
Optima Health is based in Virginia Beach and covers health insurance for more than 510,000 people and includes approximately 30,000 providers. Richmond-based Virginia Premier was founded in 1995 and has 280,000 members in Virginia.