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SEATTLE - (Dec. 11, 2008) — Gary S. Kaplan, MD, Chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center, joined health care executives from around the country today to launch Health CEOs for Health Reform (HC4HR), a coalition of health care leaders dedicated to transforming health care and creating a more sustainable health system. HC4HR intends to move past policy concepts toward detailed blueprints that reconcile legislative goals and principles with operational realities of the health care system.

"The U.S. health care system is fraught with waste and reform can no longer be set aside," said Kaplan. "I'm excited about being a part of an innovative group of health care leaders known for their actions, not just their talk. At Virginia Mason, we've worked hard for nearly a decade to reduce waste and improve care for patients. We're eager to share our insights with government leaders ready to tackle this enormous challenge."

"HC4HR will focus on helping policymakers identify solutions that will ensure everyone has quality, affordable health coverage within a system that delivers high value for every health care dollar," said Len Nichols, Director of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation and HC4HR's facilitator. "I cannot be more excited about this initiative and am honored to be facilitating the work of such a distinguished group of leaders," Nichols continued.

HC4HR members include Billings Clinic, Blue Shield of California, Catholic HealthCare West, Denver Health, Merck & Co, Inc., and Virginia Mason Medical Center. The coalition is supported by the New America Foundation.

About The New America Foundation
The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States. Headquartered in Washington D.C., New America also has offices in California.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health-care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area; manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Chronic Care Management program for people living with HIV and AIDS; and operates Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety.

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