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Washington State's Largest Employee Union Participates in Pilot Program to Offer Members Quality Health Care at Lower Costs With Qliance

Sound Health and Wellness Trust Allows Members to Select Qliance as Direct Primary Care Medical Home

SEATTLE, WA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/12/09 -- Qliance Medical Management Inc., which operates insurance-free direct primary care clinics -- also known as "direct primary care medical homes" -- in Washington state, today announced it has been selected by the Sound Health & Wellness Trust to pilot a healthcare program for its members, including the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21, Washington state's largest employee union.

The Qliance program, offered through its clinics in Seattle and Kent, WA, provides UFCW and other Trust members access to comprehensive primary, preventive and chronic management care for one low monthly fee. Current enrollment is now being offered for the 2010 benefits to Trust members and their families, who include employees of union grocery stores and health care facilities.

"We are thrilled to give our members in Seattle and Kent the option to choose Qliance for their health care, which will offer them unparalleled access to their doctors, no co-pays for office visits, and unhurried appointments," said David Schmitz, president of UFCW Local 21, a participating local in the Trust. "We are piloting this program because we strongly believe Qliance will enable our members to have access to high-quality primary care services, and that this model can save the Sound Health and Wellness Trust a significant amount of money down the road."

Trust members who join the Qliance Plan will pay approximately $3 per week ($156 per year) to receive all of the benefits of membership in the direct primary care medical home, including unrestricted primary and preventive care for everyday things like vaccinations, checkups, pneumonia, minor fractures, routine women's health exams, and ongoing care for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or obesity. Other benefits will include:

--  Unhurried 30- to 60-minute office visits
--  Same- or next-day appointments for urgent care needs
--  Open 7 days per week, with 24 hour cell phone and email access to a
--  On-site x-ray, laboratory and "first-fill" prescription drug
--  Coordination of care throughout the rest of the health care system

Participants in the program will also receive full wrap-around insurance coverage (for those rarely needed specialist or emergency services that Qliance does not provide) with an annual $150 deductible, and a $1,000 out-of-pocket maximum.

"This plan provides amazing value for some of the highest-quality health care available in the country and we look forward to welcoming the UFCW and other local Trust members to our medical homes," said Garrison Bliss, MD, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Qliance Medical Management. "The Trust has taken an important step to explore health care outside of traditional insurance programs that is already proving to reduce costs for employers and individuals. We hope legislators in the other Washington look to this pilot as a model for an effective hybrid option that should be included in the proposed insurance exchange so more Americans can enjoy the benefits."

The Sound Health and Wellness Trust program is the first Taft-Hartley health care program in the nation to offer a direct primary care medical home package to its members. The Trust has more than 30,000 members statewide, with approximately 5,500 living within a 10-mile radius of either Seattle or Kent, making them eligible to participate in the Qliance Plan pilot program.

In addition to its relationship with Sound Health & Wellness Trust and the UFCW, Qliance works with many local small to mid-size businesses to offer their employees health care at substantial savings over traditional insurance-only health care. For example, one Kent non-profit that employs 75 full-time people projects to save more than $1 million over the next five years by moving employees from traditional insurance plans to a local direct primary care medical home that is supplemented by lower-premium insurance for emergency and catastrophic care.

Qliance Medical Management Inc. was founded in 2006. In 2007, the Washington State legislature recognized direct primary care as an innovative health care delivery model not to be regulated as insurance, paving the way for all Washingtonians to have access to affordable quality health care.

For more information about Qliance, visit

About Qliance Medical Management

Qliance Medical Management was founded in 2006 and provides operating and management services to Qliance Medical Group of Washington PC. Qliance direct primary care offers people of all ages and incomes unrestricted access to all types of primary, preventive and chronic illness care for one monthly membership fee, ranging between $39 and $79, depending on age. Qliance does not exclude anyone for pre-existing conditions and offers unhurried same- and next-day appointments 7-days per week. Through Qliance, patients and employers are getting exceptional care and saving between 20 and 50 percent on comprehensive health care costs when bundled with wrap-around insurance. For more information, visit

About Sound Health & Wellness

The Sound Health & Wellness Trust provides employees across Western Washington with comprehensive health benefits along with an innovative health and wellness program that encourages participants to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Sound Health & Wellness Trust is a Taft-Hartley trust managed jointly by unions and employers and provides benefits to more than 50,000 participants and their families. Participating unions include: UFCW Local 21, UFCW Local 81, UFCW Local 1439, Teamsters Local 38, and UFCW Local 367. Participating employers include union grocery stores and health care facilities.

About United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21 is the largest private-sector local union in the state of Washington, with over 35,000 members working in grocery store, retail, health care, and other service jobs. UFCW 21 represents more retail and grocery employees and more professional and technical health care employees than any other union in the state. UFCW 21 was formed in October 2005, when a merger between UFCW Local 1001 and Local 1105 went into effect.

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