News and Commentary

Headlines on Deadline February 2002

The anthrax scare has led to a major consolidation of communication, legislative, and public affairs offices in the Department of Health and Human Services. The Washington Post reports that HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson was upset that information disseminated during terrorist mail attacks was often muddled and contradictory.... In what's being touted as an unprecedented effort, doctors and hospitals in California will be rewarded with bonuses of at least 5 percent for quality under a common set of standards adopted by six HMOs. They are: Aetna U.S. Healthcare, Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Cigna, Health Net, and PacifiCare.... Most Americans are happy with their health plans, according to a recent Harris Poll. In a survey of 927 adults, 67 percent of those with employer-provided plans graded those plans A or B, while only 8 percent gave them a D or F.... Employers, however, seem less enthusiastic — at least when it comes to prevention efforts by HMOs. A report by Hewitt Associates says that they've decided to do something about it. The report finds that 93 percent of large companies offered some kind of health promotion program in 1999, up from 88 percent in 1994.

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