While the AMA was hanging its dirty laundry, the American Association of Health Plans was busy honing its message. At the AAHP's annual meeting in Boston, Phil Nudelman, M.D., president and chairman of Seattle-based Kaiser/Group Health Cooperative, took the joystick as AAHP chairman. Nudelman says he will use his time at the top to press for patient rights in managed care.
As if on cue, AAHP delegates voted to add policies to the association's Putting Patients First initiative, its code of conduct for member plans. The new standards include requiring that plans have safeguards to protect patient confidentiality, that they have provider panels large and diverse enough to serve enrollees and that each has procedures "to promote timely and appropriate access" to specialty care. AAHP makes compliance with its patient-centered policies a condition of membership.