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March, 1997 WASHINGTON, DC -- Innovations in managed care systems offer some important advantages over traditional fee for service for women seeking primary care, but problems such as disruption in continuity of care, erosion of the doctor-patient relationship, and real or apparent conflicts of interest between physicians and patients may undermine these advantages.

These were among the findings of a ground-breaking symposium on women's primary care in managed care convened on February 7, 1997 by the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health in Washington, DC that took on the critical topic of how to ensure that women's primary care needs are met under managed health care arrangements. The two featured presenters were Karen Carlson, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Eileen Hoffman, MD, of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. The reactor panel included: Carol Aschenbrener, MD (Senior Scholar in Residence, Association of Academic Health Centers); Carol Havens, MD (Director of Continuing Medical Education, Kaiser Permanente Northern California); Cynthia Pearson (Executive Director, National Women's Health Network); and Myra Snyder, EdD (President and CEO, California Association of HMOs).

More than 200 individuals representing government, health care providers, consumers, and managed care plans attended the symposium. As the number of Americans enrolled in managed care continues to grow, managed care plans are playing an increasingly important role in the delivery of health care to women. The Jacobs Institute of Women's Health has embarked on a two-year exploration of the impact of managed care on health care services for women. The project is guided by an external advisory panel, chaired by Carol S. Weisman, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University. The panel includes representatives of the managed care industry, purchasers, physicians, and health services researchers.

Topics explored will include measures of quality for women's health, availability of mental health services, appropriate primary care and preventive services for women, Medicaid managed care, disease management programs for women, and management of reproductive health care needs.

Briefing papers will be prepared for each topic and mailed to interested parties free of charge. Shortly thereafter a symposium on the topic will be convened in Washington, DC, featuring commissioned papers presenting original research and analysis by experts on specific aspects of managed care's effect on women's health. These papers will then be published in Women's Health Issues, the official publication of the Jacobs Institute.

Support for the project has been provided by The Commonwealth Fund, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, and the Lilly Center for Women's Health (Eli Lilly and Company).

For additional symposium findings, see attached executive summaries. Additional information on the project, press copies of the briefing paper Insights and the full commissioned papers by Dr. Carlson and Dr. Hoffman are available from the Jacobs Institute at 202/863-4990.

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For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Shannon R. Mouton
The Jacobs Institute
(202) 863-4989