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April 17, 2001


CHICAGO - In its first expansion into the southwest, Physicians for Responsible Negotiation (PRN) announced today that it has concluded an affiliation agreement with a labor organization representing emergency medicine physicians in Austin, Texas. The new affiliate will be known as Austin Emergency Medicine Physicians for Responsible Negotiation, LLC (AEMPRN).

This affiliation marks the first opportunity for PRN to charter an independently established labor organization. The newly chartered group of 20 emergency medicine specialists is PRN's first labor unit comprised entirely of a single medical specialty.

"PRN is delighted to have the opportunity to bring these dedicated ER physicians into the PRN membership fold," said Robert Bernat, JD, MD, executive director of PRN. "This group will pave the way for other emergency medicine physicians in a specialty of the practice of medicine that needs the assistance of PRN."

The AEMPRN physicians are employed by Third Coast Emergency Physicians, which provides staff to the emergency rooms of both Seton Medical Center and Seton Northwest Hospital.

The main concerns to be addressed by AEMPRN revolve around the provision of patient care in the emergency room. In contention is the degree of practicing physician involvement in decisions concerning both care of individual patients and overall medical policies in the emergency room.

"The physicians want a real voice on matters where approaches to constrain health care costs conflict with what is best for patients needing emergency room care," said Dennis Watts, MD, an employee of Third Coast Emergency Physicians and an AEMPRN representative. "We feel that company management is ignoring our input on important issues such as staffing the emergency rooms with adequate numbers of board certified physicians."

AEMPRN will seek to promptly re-commence negotiations with management over issues of concern.

PRN was selected from among other labor organizations representing doctors because of its expertise and commitment to patient care, including its ethical prohibition against the withholding of care.

For more information, please contact:

For PRN:
Robert J. Mills (312) 464-5970

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