THIN and Availity seeking to join forces to expand real-time health care transactions

Dallas 08 June 2006Plans to form a joint venture were launched between one of the United States' largest electronic claims and information networks and one of the major providers of Internet-based e-health information services. Upon regulatory approval, this corporate union will expand and ease the use of electronic information flows among health care providers, health plans and the government, forging a critical path for building a model to deliver integrated total health management capabilities for health plans.

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The company, which will be known as Availity, will leverage the strengths of Availity LLC, jointly owned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and Humana Inc., and The Health Information Network (THIN), a subsidiary of Health Care Service Corporation, which operates the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Through the joint venture, THIN's expansive provider, vendor and payer networks will facilitate the provision of improved customer service and accessibility to all customers and business partners, while Availity's real-time Internet exchange, Availity Gateway, will provide health care professionals access to a wider range of Web-based products and services. The Availity Gateway serves as a single point of entry to a network of health plans and a secure foundation to exchange compliant health care transactions in real time.

"As the health care industry focuses on increased efficiencies and reduction of administrative costs, the marketplace demands continued improvements in the capabilities of our health information technology solutions", stated Julie Klapstein, CEO of Availity. "Ultimately, through our secure Web-based portal, we can share information seamlessly with health plan systems, service bureaus and other EDI networks to eliminate administrative complexity."

"This strategic coalition would combine valuable resources and expertise in a growing industry", explained Tom Riley, Vice President, HCSC eSolutions and Strategic Relations. "We would be uniquely positioned to better serve the growing needs of our customer base in all markets while enhancing our integrated total health management capabilities."

The teaming of Availity and THIN will bring together two key regional health care information technology organisations. With Availity's foothold in Florida and THIN's concentration in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, the union effectively positions the company to better serve customers in those areas, while also providing the capabilities and capacity to offer additional functionality in its product offerings. Currently, more than 100 million transactions are processed through the Availity Gateway each year at more than 14.000 physician sites and all Florida hospitals. THIN's transactions number approximately 230 million annually, through a network of more than 1300 payers/health plans and 120.000 physicians and hospitals.

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, Availity optimizes the flow of information between health care providers, health plans, and other health care stakeholders through a secure Internet-based exchange. The Availity Gateway supports both real-time and batch Web and electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions, is committed to complying with the HIPAA regulations, and has proven to be fast and efficient. Availity is the recipient of the 2005 A.S.A.P. Alliance Innovation Award, 2003 and 2004 eHealthcare Leadership Awards, the 2004 IT Florida Excellence in IT Leadership Award, the 2003 E-Fusion Award, the 2003 TETHIE Award, and the 2003 AstraZeneca-NMHCC Partnership Award.

Based in Dallas, Texas, The Health Information Network is a wholly owned subsidiary of Health Care Service Corporation, which operates the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. THIN is an electronic claims and information network available to all providers and their billing agents in the health care community. THIN acts as a central clearinghouse for physicians, hospitals, and other providers to file patient claims and other transactions electronically with all payers, commercial and government.


Leslie Versweyveld

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