Healthcare Innovator Nazie Eftekhari Named Woman of the Year

Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Bestows Award on Bloomington Businesswoman

Nazie Eftekhari, Founder and CEO, The Araz Group (Photo: The Araz Group)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.--()--The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, an affiliate of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, at its annual WOW Awards luncheon on June 8, 2009, recognized Nazie Eftekhari, Founder and CEO of The Araz Group of Companies, as their 2009 Woman of the Year. Now in its sixth year, the WOW (Women in the Workplace) Achievement Awards honor inspirational individuals and businesses who have contributed to the success and empowerment of women.

The Woman of the Year Award recognizes an individual who actively demonstrates the ability to mentor women and serve her community. In addition to her leadership at The Araz Group – America's PPO, America's TPA, HealthEZ, and America's IME – where she serves as a role model not only for those women under her employ, but for women in the business community at large, Ms. Eftekhari is the founder of The Foundation for the Children of Iran. The Foundation helps arrange life-altering treatment for Iranian children who would otherwise face death or greatly diminished quality of life.

As the creator of the first Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) in the country, Ms. Eftekhari is recognized as a healthcare innovator. She developed the first consolidated consumer statement in the industry, and her company was the first to consolidate insurance and consumer payments to doctors and hospitals, the first to offer medical management services, the first to offer a paperless statement, and the first to allow consumers to pay multiple unrelated providers using the credit card of their choice through a single web portal.

At her Foundation, Ms. Eftekhari leads a team of volunteers who raise funds, arrange for transportation of the young patients from Iran, serve as hosts to the patients and parent(s) who accompany them, arrange for and coordinate medical care, and through their care and encouragement serve as a family-away-from-home for these precious patients.

Ms. Eftekhari’s foundation recently brought over two young girls who could not receive the care they needed in Iran. One is a 7-year-old with a heart condition, and the other is a 9-year-old suffering with a severe case of scoliosis. Both of these girls have undergone successful surgery, and thanks to Ms. Eftekhari’s efforts and the work of her team at the Foundation, they now have hope for leading normal lives.

Named in 2009 as one of 40 Minnesotans on the Move by Finance and Commerce Magazine, Ms. Eftekhari was also recognized in 2004 as one of the Twin Cities' Women Changemakers by Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. In 1995, Ms. Eftekhari was named Small Business Person of the Year, and her other awards include the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights Award and the Woman of Distinction Award.

A member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Ms. Eftekhari also serves on the Board of Overseers of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and the Board of Directors of IAPAC, the Iranian-American Political Action Committee. She has previously served on the boards of the Walker Art Center and Children’s Hospital, and was a member of Minnesotans for Major League Baseball.

About The Araz Group

The Araz family of companies includes America’s PPO, America’s TPA, HealthEZ and America’s IME. For more information, visit

America’s PPO is the only independent (independent means not owned by hospitals, doctors, insurers, or HMOs) PPO in the Upper Midwest. It provides its network to insurance companies, third party administrators and national networks throughout the country. The company includes integrated medical management services and today provides its services to hundreds of thousands of members.

America’s TPA has been designing custom benefit plans, including high-deductible health plans, for self-insured employers since 1982. America’s TPA helps clients control their health plan costs through flexible plan design and aggressive medical management programs, and is the only benefit administrator in the region to offer the HealthEZ service.

HealthEZ, founded in 1997, is a financial transaction company providing a simplified, consolidated statement and medical payment service to consumers through their employer sponsored plans. HealthEZ partners with third party administrators to provide its service and pays patient liability to providers through various instruments, including credit and debit cards, HSA, HRA and FSA accounts.

America’s IME, a division of America’s PPO, has been providing best-in-class IME services to the insurance industry since 1992.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:


The Araz Group
Tim Bode, 952-896-1284


The Araz Group
Tim Bode, 952-896-1284