Dr. Richard Merkin Awards $50,000 to the Progress Prize Winners in the $3Million Heritage Health Prize Contest at the Strata Conference in New York

NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Richard Merkin, President and CEO of Heritage Provider Network, presented checks totaling $50,000 to the two teams leading the $3million Heritage Health Prize competition at the six month mark at the Strata Conference in New York.

The lead team, "Market Makers" includes players David Vogel, CEO and Chief Scientist of Voloridge Investment Management, Dr. Randy Axelrod, President of Randy Axelrod Consulting and Resource Global Health and Phil Brierley, a data mining expert from Australia. The team received a check for $30,000.

"I applaud Dr. Merkin for sponsoring this prize to create a more accurate model to predict avoidable hospitalizations that will save lives and dollars, a big step toward solving our nation's healthcare crisis," said David Vogel, "Market Makers" team leader. "Phil, Randy and I are thrilled to accept this honor as the lead team and look forward to working together and creating a solution to the prize challenge. Thank you Dr. Merkin."

"I'm very pleased to present this check to the lead team, 'Market Makers' and wish them continued success in the competition," said Dr. Merkin. "They represent many of the diverse backgrounds we are seeing in our contestants who do not work specifically in healthcare, but are integrating their skill set into the healthcare sector to solve this problem, changing the world and helping us meet the nation's $2trillion healthcare crisis."

Each member of the Market Makers team has a history of success competing in other data mining contests. David and Randy have been working together for 10 years. David and Phil also have prior experience working together in data mining competitions. This is the first time the three of them have entered a competition as teammates.

Willem Mestrom, an information analyst from the Netherlands, won second place in the prize contest, receiving $20,000 from Dr. Merkin.

"I would like to thank Dr. Merkin for organizing this interesting challenge. I hope all our efforts will make a positive contribution to health care around the world," said Mestrom. "Also many thanks to all the other participants for providing strong competition. I'm looking forward to competing with them again for the next milestone prize."

According to Kaggle, the company running the competition, there are more than 4,500 teams from all over the world competing for the prize.

The $3million Heritage Health Prize is the world's largest predictive modeling contest, challenging entrants to create an algorithm that predicts how many days a patient will spend in the hospital. The goal is to decrease the number of avoidable hospitalizations, saving the country $32billion in avoidable hospitalization costs. The prize is larger than the Nobel Prize for Medicine and the Gates Health Prize.

Other upcoming milestone prizes include $80,000 to the top two teams at the twelve-month mark (split as $50,000 and $30,000) and $100,000 to the top two teams at the eighteen-month mark (split as $60,000 and $40,000). The duration of the contest is two years. (www.heritagehealthprize.com)

ABOUT HPN:

Heritage Provider Network, Inc. (HPN) is on the cutting edge of the accountable care model of health care delivery: coordinated, patient-doctor centric, integrated health care systems that represent the future of health care in the United States. HPN develops programs and services that are responsive to the healthcare needs of today's patient. HPN designs its networks to offer patients a comprehensive range of medical care in convenient locations.  It organizes and manages medical groups and independent practice associations, integrating with hospitals and ancillary care providers. This system represents a workable, successful business model that has been duplicated with medical groups, IPAs and medical facilities throughout California.  HPN is dedicated to quality, affordable health care and putting patients' wellness first. (www.heritageprovidernetwork.com)

SOURCE Heritage Provider Network, Inc.



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