October 22, 2008

Carolinas HealthCare System Joins Premier Healthcare Alliance to Further Improve Quality of Care, Promote Safety and Reduce Hospital Costs

Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), the third largest public healthcare system in the United States, has taken steps to further improve patient care while safely reducing the cost of care by becoming a member of the Premier healthcare alliance.

CHS will be one of 200 of the nation's leading hospital and healthcare systems who own Premier Inc. as shareholders. As a member of Premier, CHS will benefit from the nation's largest clinical and operational comparative database and one of the country's largest hospital group purchasing organizations. CHS will work with Premier to advance the mission of both companies to improve the quality of life of those it serves through leadership in patient care, health education and clinical research. CHS formerly utilized VHA as its national GPO.

CHS and Premier have an existing clinical improvement relationship through the Premier, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID) pay-for-performance project. Approximately 250 hospitals across 36 states are participating in the demonstration, including the CHS-affiliated Cleveland Regional Medical Center, one of the project's top performers.

"We have experienced first-hand that Premier has a proven track record in clinical improvement programs to address patient safety and quality," said CHS's chief executive officer Michael C. Tarwater. "By partnering with Premier, CHS will have immediate access to programs that can be of benefit to the community."

Tarwater continued, "It was particularly advantageous to partner with a company that has a large physical presence and readily available resources, including a strong pool of staff experts, in Charlotte. We welcome the opportunity to expand this relationship to include Premier's group purchasing services."

CHS is Mecklenburg County's largest employer, with more than 25,000 employees in greater Charlotte, including Cabarrus County. Premier currently employs over 700 of its more than 1,000 workers in Charlotte.

"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to work with one of the top healthcare systems in the nation and are fully committed to helping CHS improve quality while safely reducing costs," said Susan DeVore, Premier's chief operating officer. "In partnership, there is a unique opportunity to build on the resources of our two organizations to create positive outcomes for the employers, providers and citizens of our community."

About Carolinas HealthCare System

Carolinas HealthCare System, is the largest healthcare system in the Carolinas, and the third largest public system in the nation. CHS owns, leases or manages 23 hospitals in North and South Carolina, including Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte and CMC-NorthEast in Concord, a 457-bed medical center which is home to the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital. CHS employs over 1,000 physicians who practice in more than 300 locations. CHS also operates rehabilitation hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory surgery centers, home health agencies, radiation therapy centers and physical therapy facilities. Together, these operations comprise over 4,900 licensed beds and employ more than 35,000 full-time or part-time employees.

About Premier Inc., 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

Serving more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals and 53,000-plus other healthcare sites, the Premier healthcare alliance and its members are transforming healthcare together. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier operates one of the leading healthcare purchasing networks and the nation's most comprehensive repository of hospital clinical and financial information. A subsidiary operates one of the nation's largest policy-holder owned, hospital professional liability risk-retention groups. A world leader in helping healthcare providers deliver dramatic improvements in care, Premier is working with the United Kingdom's National Health Service North West and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve hospital performance. Headquartered in San Diego, Premier has offices in Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Washington. For more information, visit www.premierinc.com.