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Physicians for Responsible Negotiation

515 N. State St., 13th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60610

NEWS RELEASE

Dec. 30, 1999

For further information:

Ross Rubin, Acting Executive Director
Physicians for Responsible Negotiation
(312) 464-4PRN (4776)

Detroit Doctors Ask Physicians for Responsible Negotiation To File Petition For Formation of a Collective Bargaining Unit

Detroit – Responding to requests from doctors employed by Wellness Plan, a health maintenance organization serving the urban core of Detroit, Physicians for Responsible Negotiation (PRN) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to serve as collective bargaining representative for the group.

The Wellness Plan doctors would be the first local bargaining unit to be represented by PRN, a national negotiating organization founded by the American Medical Association to offer a professional alternative for doctors seeking help in advocating for patients and quality care.

"Urban core patients on Medicaid represent the most vulnerable patient group in the nation," said Susan Hershberg Adelman, M.D., president of PRN and a pediatric surgeon from Southfield, Mich. "The physicians of Wellness Plan who serve these patients are deeply concerned that those responsible for setting policy are disregarding the professional opinion of doctors responsible for patient care. The plan’s policies could place the care of these patients in real jeopardy."

Dr. Adelman said the doctors of Wellness Plan are aware that many economic and political influences are putting pressure on their HMO. Their concern, she said, is that these influences are in turn exerting pressure on their ability to provide high quality care to their patients. They also felt that they needed input into vital decisions about their practices in order to be sure that changes made do not jeopardize the doctor-patient relationship.

"The doctors of Wellness Plan have asked us to help them maintain their ability to take care of their patients," she said.

"No labor organization other than the PRN combines the strength of collective negotiation with a commitment to patients first, quality care for all patients and the highest ethical standards," she said. "We intend to fulfill the trust placed in us by the doctors of Wellness Plan by negotiating strongly for their input into decisions that affect the lives of their more than 130,000 patients."

"Our organization and the doctors of Wellness Plan share a desire to create a working environment where they can devote the time and attention to their patients’ needs and where quality patient care and the protection of patients’ needs are top priorities," she said.

Dr. Adelman emphasized that PRN will strictly follow and apply the ethical standards and principles of the medical profession in all its activities, including professional organization, patient advocacy, no strikes or work stoppages, leadership by health-care professionals, and full compliance with labor laws.

"The doctors of Wellness Plan also turned to PRN because they have become increasingly frustrated and concerned that they will not be able to continue to provide quality care to their patients without contracts in the practice environment," she said. "That does not serve the physicians well, and it certainly does not serve patients, who want continuity of care with their own doctors, who are dedicated to their care.

Following processing of the petition filed by the doctors and certification of eligible voters, doctors of Wellness Plan will vote on selection of PRN. If approved by eligible voters, PRN will initiate negotiations with Wellness Plan.

Physicians for Responsible Negotiation, Chicago, was authorized by physicians of the American Medical Association in June 1999 and formally inaugurated in November 1999 to address the concerns of America’s physicians and empower them to act on behalf of patients and to improve the health and well-being of all citizens.



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