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URAC Honors First Health Care Stars! at 10th Annual Quality Summit

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Health Care Professionals Recognized for Dedication to Consumer Empowerment and Protection

Washington, D.C. and Tucson, Ariz. – October 7, 2009 – URAC, the nation’s leading health care accreditation and education organization, today recognized Dr. Robert Nease, Karen Maslanik, and Julia Rieve as the first recipients of the Health Care Stars! in Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection Awards. The awards, presented at URAC’s 10th Annual Quality Summit and Exhibition, recognize health care professionals who directly make positive changes in the lives of the consumers they serve.

“We know there are a lot of unsung heroes across the health care industry. We wanted to recognize the real faces of health care and honor the people who dedicate their lives, day after day, to improving the quality of care for consumers,” said Alan P. Spielman, president and CEO of URAC. “Robert, Karen, and Julia are true role models. They set the standard for all of us to follow.”

In the category of Consumer Empowerment, which honors an individual who contributes to enhancing consumer decision-making or consumer health care adherence to appropriate therapy, the winner was Dr. Robert Nease, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Scientist for Express Scripts. Dr. Nease pioneered Express Scripts’ application of behavioral economics to health care and advanced the behavior-centric approach to pharmacy benefits. These principles have been used to refine and develop Express Scripts’ products, including Select Home Delivery, so they are more responsive to customer needs.

Karen Maslanik of Premera Blue Cross and Julia Rieve of Coventry Health were the winners in the category of Consumer Protection and Patient Safety for their demonstrated commitment to the welfare of health care consumers through saving and improving lives, preventing adverse health outcomes, and other positive changes.

Ms. Maslanik was recognized for her outstanding work as a behavioral health case manager who demonstrated superior clinical judgment and creativity in making sure a patient with a highly-contagious disease had access to needed mental health services. Working collaboratively with providers, Ms. Maslanik made it possible for needed treatment to be brought to the patient.

Ms. Rieve, a catastrophic nurse case manager for Coventry Health, was selected for her commitment to the welfare of health care consumers and her role as an advocate for consumer safety and confidentiality, which improved health care outcomes for her patients. She has shown great skill in educating colleagues, consumers, other providers, and families about codes of ethics and regulations around patient privacy.

URAC’s 2009 Health Care Stars! Awards were open to the employees of the more than 550 programs in over 400 URAC-accredited or in-process organizations. The winners were selected by a panel of 32 esteemed experts representing every aspect of health care, including Research Professors, Compliance Managers, Directors of Patient Safety and many other specialties. The panel reviewed all of the nominations, looking for specific accomplishments and clear results that the nominee had made a positive impact on the health of the consumers they serve.

“If health care reform is to succeed, it will require the commitment, compassion and knowledge of the professionals who are on the front line working with consumers every day,” said Mr. Spielman. “Knowing that there are people like our Health Care Stars! gives me great hope for the future of our health care system.”


For 25 years, URAC has been the independent leader in promoting health care quality through accreditation, education, and measurement. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs that reflect the latest changes in health care and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to showcase their validated commitment to quality and accountability. URAC’s evidence-based measures and standards are developed through inclusive engagement with a broad range of stakeholders committed to improving the quality of health care.

For more information about URAC, contact us.

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