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SEATTLE – (Oct. 1, 2008) — A progressive coalition of local health care providers — including Virginia Mason Medical Center, The Everett Clinic, Proliance Surgeons and Qliance Primary Care Specialists — today announced the launch of Carol.com (www.carol.com) for greater Seattle-area consumers. Carol.com is a free online marketplace that empowers consumers to easily compare and schedule health care.

Using Carol.com, Seattle-area residents for the first time can go online to review more than 100 health-care services and compare how specific services vary among health care providers. When making a service selection, consumers can use the Web site to:

  • Learn exactly what tests and procedures will be performed at the doctor's office before arriving.
  • Review quality data from the Puget Sound Health Alliance's Community Checkup Report.
  • Determine estimated costs for health-care services prior to receiving them.
  • Schedule health-care services. 

"We are partnering with Carol.com to make health care more approachable for patients," said Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center. "This is one more way we can set ourselves apart as a leader in the health-care industry. Virginia Mason Medical Center welcomes the opportunity to offer and showcase our doctors and medical programs on Carol.com, and fully believes competing in an open marketplace will lead to greater care delivery innovation, better patient outcomes and improved cost control."

Carol.com is designed for all people — those with and without health insurance, including those with high-deductible health plans. The goal of Carol.com and its partners is to provide Seattle-area consumers the transparency needed to make value-based health care decisions; much like the decisions consumers make every day with other goods and services.

"Carol.com is the first initiative and Web site that really starts to pull together, in a localized and personalized fashion, all of the pieces necessary for consumers to take action and become more engaged in their health," said Rick Cooper, CEO for The Everett Clinic. "It was an easy decision for us to provide greater transparency through Carol.com, especially as consumers are being asked to take more responsibility for managing and funding their health."

About Carol.com
Founded in 2006, Carol.com is an online marketplace where consumers can shop, compare and purchase health-care packages provided by a variety of large, medium and specialty medical facilities in their communities. The company focuses on transforming health care by creating a marketplace in which consumers compare health-care services from local clinics and hospitals prior to purchase, and health-care providers compete for their patronage. The Carol name was taken to honor the trusted family members, friends and associates people turn to when seeking advice or recommendations about health care. "We all know a 'Carol' in our lives."

Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health care system that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 480 physicians with a 336-bed acute care hospital in Seattle. In addition, Virginia Mason has a network of clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area, and manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Adult Day Health program for people living with HIV and AIDS. Virginia Mason also has an internationally recognized research center, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

For media inquiries only, contact:
Alisha Mark
(206) 341-1509

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