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Anthem Blue Cross Secures $18.5 Million Bond for San Diego’s La Maestra Community Health Centers

October 24, 2008

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ — Anthem Blue Cross and La Maestra Community Health Centers announced today they have successfully completed the underwriting of an $18.5 million bond initiative to support the construction of La Maestra’s new 34,660 square foot “green” health care center. When completed, it will house more than 200 staff members and support more than 100,000 patient visits annually in City Heights neighborhood of San Diego.

The new facility is expected to be among the first, or perhaps the first, community clinics in the country to seek the Gold LEED certification through the United States Green Building Council. La Maestra registered this health care center project with the USGBC in 2004. LEED(R) is the acronym for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system. LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The building will showcase state-of-the-art energy efficient and environmentally responsible materials, fixtures and operations. Currently there are no Gold Certified health care facilities in San Diego.

Bond financing was made possible via the Anthem Blue Cross “Investment in a Healthy California Program” (IHCP). As part of the 2004 merger, Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health, and Golden West Dental & Vision maintain a $200 million investment portfolio to provide investment capital to health care providers serving low-income urban and rural California communities.

Anthem Blue Cross collaborated with California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and the IHCP advisory committee to ensure the program succeeded in meeting the objectives outlined by the merger agreement. The IHCP advisory committee is comprised of leading health care professionals, and the program is one of the largest of its kind in the country – specifically designed to address the health care needs of underserved and low-income populations.

“Our ‘Investment in a Healthy California Program’ is another way we’re extending our mission of ‘Improving the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities,’” said Leslie A. Margolin, president of Anthem Blue Cross. “La Maestra means ‘the teacher’ in Spanish. This teacher helps people learn how to lead healthier and more productive lives every day which is a great lesson. We’re pleased to be La Maestra’s partner in securing this bond offering for their expansion in the community.”

“We are very pleased this bond underwriting has been completed,” said Zara Marselian, CEO for La Maestra. “The favorable long-term financing will allow us to construct our new health care center while we continue our fundraising efforts through our Heart of the Community Capital Campaign. We are halfway toward our campaign goal and will begin construction on our new facility next month. It is a joy to share this good news with our staff and the community we serve.

“Our patient population is the uninsured,” she added. “We provide care and services to more than 19 different ethnic groups – arguably the most diverse concentrated population in the county. We have seen double digit increases each year for the past five years for the demands of our services. Our Board concluded that by consolidating our City Heights sites into one centralized ‘green’ location we could improve care delivery, expand capacity to serve more patients and have a positive impact on the area environmentally and economically as its largest employer.”

About La Maestra

Since 1990, La Maestra has been providing quality health care and community services to thousands of ethnically diverse clients in San Diego. La Maestra, the largest employer in City Heights, San Diego’s most culturally diverse neighborhood, sees more than 65,000 patient visits per year with a staff of 147 doctors, nurses, counselors and social workers who speak 19 different languages and dialects. Clients of La Maestra can receive a full range of primary medical services for all ages. Additionally clients can receive dental, behavioral health, vision and geriatric care. Social services including job placement, eligibility, outreach, transportation, translation, housing assistance and a food pantry are also available. La Maestra currently provides services through an assortment of 14 converted residential buildings on a single city block in City Heights. La Maestra also has clinics in National City and El Cajon. For more information, please visit http://www.lamaestra.org/ .

About Anthem Blue Cross:

Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. (R) ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.

   Media Contact:  Ben Singer                   818-234-0749                   benjamin.singer@wellpoint.com                    Katie Shultz                   619-749-3442                   katie@prizepublicrelations.com  

Anthem Blue Cross; La Maestra

CONTACT: Ben Singer, Anthem Blue Cross, +1-818-234-0749,benjamin.singer@wellpoint.com; or Katie Shultz, +1-619-749-3442,katie@prizepublicrelations.com

Web site: http://www.anthem.com/cahttp://www.lamaestra.org/




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