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Physicians for Responsible Negotiation
515 N. State St. - 13th Floor
Chicago, IL 60610
312-464-4PRN
www.4PRN.org
The Wellness Plan
2875 W. Grand Blvd.
Detroit MI 48202
313-875-4200
www.wellplan.com



NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2001


INAUGURAL CONTRACT NEGOTIATION FOR MICHIGAN PHYSICIANS CALLED A SUCCESS


DETROIT - "Successful in all respects" is the characterization given by officials of Physicians for Responsible Negotiation (PRN) and The Wellness Plan, a Michigan-based health maintenance organization, of the recently completed negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement covering all physicians employed by the HMO.

In a joint announcement issued today, PRN President, Susan H. Adelman, MD said "The Wellness Plan members are the big winners in this agreement. That was PRN and The Wellness Plan's common goal throughout the negotiations. We reached agreement on key patients rights issues that will focus everyone on improving the quality of patient care."

Isadore King, President and CEO of the 140,000-member health plan, added "Throughout the process, everyone on both sides of the table responded to this historically significant event with an unwavering commitment to achieving an outcome that would protect the needs of our members. I commend PRN for adhering to this objective and placing it above self-interest. We are all eager to return our full resources to the business of providing quality care."

Dr. Adelman, a Detroit-based pediatric surgeon, applauded The Wellness Plan and its affiliated physicians for their diligent efforts and prompt resolution of the many issues discussed during the negotiations.

"The professional tone at the bargaining table and the constant focus on patient care were the hallmarks of the negotiations. Other issues that must be addressed in a collective bargaining agreement, such as salaries, benefits, due process protections and working conditions, also fell into place easily," Dr. Adelman said.

Robert Bernat, MD, executive director of PRN, said the unity of purpose both sides shared at the bargaining table was key to reaching a resolution. "Over the course of the collective bargaining process, the industry environment improved dramatically," Dr. Bernat said. "The State of Michigan approved an increased health care budget and issued new HMO contracts. The spirit of collective bargaining coupled with these actions renewed confidence that physicians and administration could and would resolve their differences."

The National Labor Relations Board certified PRN as the Detroit physicians' representative in late March 2000. The Wellness Plan and PRN officials ratified the agreement on March 15, 2001.

PRN was formed by the American Medical Association in November 1999. It currently represents the Wellness Plan physicians in Michigan and election results are pending for groups in New Jersey and Illinois.

The Wellness Plan, with 550 employees in Michigan, was founded in 1972. It owns and operates four health centers and is affiliated with some 31 hospitals in seven Michigan counties.

For more information, please contact:

For PRN:
Robert Mills (312) 464-5970

For The Wellness Plan:
Don Drew (313) 875-5064


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