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The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has released the names of an elite group of health plans from across the nation that have earned — by virtue of their commitment to clinical excellence, customer service and continuous improvement — NCQA’s new "Excellent" accreditation status. These 40 health plans have generally achieved scores in the top 25% on a slate of key performance measures such as mammography and immunization rates, beta-blocker treatment after a heart attack, and overall satisfaction.
"Three years ago, there probably wasn’t a single plan in the nation that could have met the current NCQA definition of an excellent’ health plan," says NCQA president Margaret E. O’Kane. "Now there are 40, and they deserve recognition for doing managed care right — for putting quality first." Nearly one dozen Blue Cross Blue Shield plans were among those earning the NCQA’s top mark. In addition, 16 plans cited were from the New England area. The status of any NCQA-accredited health plan can be found on-line at www.ncqa.org.
For more information, contact: Barry Scholl, NCQA, 2000 L. St. N.W., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: (202) 955-5197.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ gateway Web site for health information, www.healthfinder.gov, provides access to over 5,000 health resources on the Internet. More than 400 government Web sites with health information are linked to the gateway, as well as thousands of resources from nonprofit, state, and university partners — over 5,000 resources in all — on over 1,000 topics.
Last spring, the Surgeon General released the newest features on Healthfinder — "Just for You — Men’s Health," and resources for Spanish speakers. Last June, the Federal Trade Commission promoted the site as the most reliable resource for consumers at risk for Internet health scams.
For further information, contact: Mary Jo Deering, PhD, director, Health Communication and Telehealth, Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Public Health Service, Washington, DC 20201. Telephone: (202)832-4633.
PCS Health Systems Inc., of Scottsdale, AZ, has launched a new Web site that makes available comprehensive health and prescription management services — including secure on-line access to personal prescription histories — for more than 50 million cardholders.
The new site, www.pcsRx.com, allows PCS plan members to:
• obtain a personal prescription drug history showing medications received form all pharmacies during the previous 24 months;
• complete an on-line health assessment and create an individual health profile that provides health management guidelines and recommendations;
• develop a personalized health home page that contains information about health and disease topics that are relevant to the member;
• read health and pharmaceutical news of interest;
• research in-depth pharmaceutical and medical information;
• order prescriptions on-line.
This new resource "allows PCS plan members to play a more active role in managing their own health," says Jean-Pierre Millon, PCS president and CEO.
For more information, contact: Blair Jackson, PCS Health Systems, Inc., 9501 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85260-6719. Telephone: (480) 391-4148.
Two publications from the Farmington Hills, MI-based American Institute for Preventive Medicine — Health at Home, a self-care book, and A Year of Health Hints, a wellness book — have been converted into software programs for Internet and intranet use. The software teaches employees how to recognize a real medical emergency, when they should seek the care of a physician, and when they can treat themselves at home. Thirteen consecutive studies on the printed versions of these programs have demonstrated an average six-month savings of $66.83 per person.
Corporations use the content to teach employees how to reduce health care costs, while health portals have purchase the products to enhance their content and increase visits to the site. Present users include Microsoft, CNN, WebMD, Medscape, Lycos, Excite, Citgo, and IBM.
For more information, or to receive a demo disk, contact: American Institute for Preventive Medicine, 30445 Northwestern Highway, Suite 350, Farmington Hills, MI 48334. Telephone: (248) 539-1800. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.