Southcoast Health System, comprised of Charlton Memorial Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital and Tobey Hospital as well as physician practices and other ancillary services, has chosen Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and its affiliate Health Plans, Inc., as its self-insured employee health plan partner, effective January 1, 2011. As a result, Harvard Pilgrim will welcome some 9,500 new members made up of Southcoast employees and their families to the nation’s No. 1 health plan. Southcoast Health System is the largest employer in the South Coast region with some 6,000 employees.

“It is a great honor that Southcoast Health System has chosen us as their health insurer,” said Eric H. Schultz, President & CEO of Harvard Pilgrim. “Southcoast is a highly respected employer and provider partner that cares for many of our members. We look forward to partnering with Southcoast to provide a cost-effective, high-quality health care experience for their employees and their families.”

“Southcoast is very excited about joining with Harvard Pilgrim to provide a high-quality benefit for our employees and their families in the most efficient manner possible,” said John B. Day, President & CEO of Southcoast Health System. “The Southcoast Health Plan has always been highly appreciated by employees as it provides great coverage with the greatest efficiency as possible. As the leading provider of health care services and the largest employer in the region, it is our responsibility to partner with a top-quality health plan that offers the greatest flexibility and an extensive network at the best possible value for our employees.”

Southcoast Health System is a community based health delivery system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and East Bay, Rhode Island. It includes the three hospitals that make up Southcoast Hospitals Group — Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham. Southcoast is the region’s largest employer providing jobs to some 6,000 full- and part-time employees.

Keith Hovan, President & CEO of Southcoast Hospitals Group, said the hospital’s partnership with Harvard Pilgrim would complement its long-standing commitment to quality and safety. “Southcoast offers a breadth and quality of medical care — including our vital surgery, cardiology, oncology, orthopedic and neurosurgery services — that allows patients in the South Coast region to receive treatment close to home, without needing to travel, and on a much more cost-effective platform. Harvard Pilgrim is known for its strong quality initiatives with an emphasis on customer satisfaction, both of which are top priorities for Southcoast.”

Harvard Pilgrim was a long-term partner at Tobey and St. Luke’s hospitals prior to the 1996 merger that created Southcoast Health System as well as for Southcoast for several years after the merger. Harvard Pilgrim has continued to experience steady membership growth and currently has more than 1,119,000 members, up 63,000 members from one year ago. Harvard Pilgrim makes switching health plans easy for employers and their employees by dedicating the necessary resources and support to ensure a smooth transition.

Harvard Pilgrim is the No. 1 commercial health plan in America for the fifth consecutive year according to a joint ranking by U.S.News & World Report and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)*. For the second year in a row, Harvard Pilgrim is the highest-ranked health insurance plan in the New England region in the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 National Health Insurance Plan Study.SM Harvard Pilgrim received the highest ranking for overall member satisfaction in the New England region. Health Plans, Inc. is a Harvard Pilgrim affiliate company specializing in administering customized self-insured plans for employers and is the largest third party administrator in New England. Harvard Pilgrim is a not-for-profit health plan that provides a variety of health benefit options and funding arrangements to more than one million members in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

More information on Southcoast Health System is available online at