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Huntsville Hospital, UAB partner to expand health insurance options for seniors

  • January 15, 2020
Huntsville Hospital Health System and University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System have agreed to a partnership that seeks to expand health insurance options for seniors and others.

Huntsville HospitalHuntsvilleHealthHuntsville Hospital serves as the regional referral and trauma center for North Alabama and the Tennessee Valley. Health System and University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System have agreed to a partnership that seeks to expand health insurance options for seniors and others with Medicare in North Alabama, and look for opportunities that focus on population health, value-based care and rural health care. 

Together the organizations intend to offer a new Medicare Advantage product through Viva Health, a sister company of UABHS, as well as explore areas to improve operational performance and efficiencies.

“We have a crisis in health care in America and Alabama,” said Huntsville Hospital Health System CEO David Spillers. “If we are going to see any improvement in the health of Alabamians, we have to work together and change how we have done things in the past. We look forward to working with UAB Health System in this effort.”

Viva Health’s extensive provider network includes many of Alabama’s best physicians and hospitals in communities throughout the state, as well as durable medical equipment providers, home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, urgent care clinics, pharmacies, and a wide variety of other providers and vendors that provide a complete range of health care services.

“Huntsville Hospital and UAB are aligned in their commitment to improve health care in Alabama,” said UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany. “Working with Huntsville Hospital Health System will help us all achieve this goal in North Alabama.”

VivaVIVA Health’s headquarters are in downtown Birmingham, where the majority of the company’s 550 employees work. VIVA Health was founded in 1995 and is part of the UAB Health System. Medicare Advantage plans like Viva Medicare cover all the benefits of traditional Medicare, typically offer additional benefits and usually include prescription drug coverage. Unlike traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans cap the amount of yearly out-of-pocket costs members pay for medical care, and most charge set copays for doctors’ visits and hospital stays. 

U.S. News and World Report has named Viva Medicare one of the country’s best Medicare Advantage plans, the only Alabama-based Medicare company to make the prestigious 2020 ranking and one of only three in the state. For 2020, Viva Medicare scored 4.5 out of 5 stars on its Medicare quality performance based on 47 different quality measures that illustrate everything from customer service to how well the health insurance company helps its members stay healthy. 

“We are true partners in our members’ health,” said Dr. Tara Bryant, Viva Health’s chief medical officer. “As a local health plan, we have forged strong relationships with health systems and providers and work hand in glove with those who are treating our members. Viva Health’s resources include nurses, social workers and pharmacists who offer assistance to providers treating complex and chronically ill patients. We look forward to bringing this kind of team approach to Medicare recipients in Huntsville.”

Viva Health is applying to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for approval of a new Medicare Advantage health plan choice in the Huntsville area. In addition to contracting with Viva Health, Huntsville Hospital Health System may also contract with other Medicare Advantage plans and stand-alone prescription drug plans.