CareCounsel's Healthcare Assistance Program Earns National Recognition From Employer Quality Partnership

San Rafael, CA, July 23, 1998 — CareCounsel, LLC, announced today that its innovative Healthcare Assistance Program was recently featured in a nationally broadcast video news release recognizing noteworthy employer initiatives to make the healthcare system work better. The video, which was produced by the Employer Quality Partnership (EQP), included commentary by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and CareCounsel National Advisory Board member Professor Regina Herzlinger of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

The EQP is a coalition of seven leading employer associations, including The Business Roundtable, the Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans, The ERISA Industry Committee, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors, the National Federation of Independent Business and the US Chamber of Commerce.

The CareCounsel Assistance Program helps employees navigate the new healthcare environment through an independent service staffed by registered nurses and health educators. This type of "ombudsprogram" supports employees through confidential toll-free access to healthcare information, advocacy, coaching and resources, while, at the same time, strengthening the employer's commitment to delivering high quality, employee-friendly managed care benefits.

The timely Healthcare Assistance Program includes:

Education and Information

Employees receive information on a broad range of healthcare topics including how to choose a health plan, selecting primary care providers, dentists and specialists, understanding managed care benefits, going to the hospital, advance directives, keeping a personal health record, usual and customary charges, second opinions, clinical trials, long-term care alternatives, supporting a loved one with a serious illness, viatical settlements and understanding Medicare. Over 45 printed educational topics complement the telephone counseling.

Advocacy

CareCounselors help employees effectively resolve questions and concerns that arise as they use their health benefits with the goal of resolving problems at the lowest possible level and as quickly and fairly as possible. Issues addressed range from physician access and availability to treatment denials, quality of care concerns and support with appeals and grievances. CareCounsel also offers an independent quality review program for people facing cancer.

Coaching

CareCounsel provides tools and resources to help patients adopt a more proactive role in their healthcare interactions. Coaching interventions teach employees and their families how to become more empowered, informed partners with their physicians.

Resources

Callers receive referrals to a wide variety of health and disease-related support groups, national, state and local disease-specific organizations and Internet-based health and medical resources.

"Leading employers have highlighted the compelling need for market-oriented solutions that support employees as they use an increasingly complex healthcare system," said Lawrence N. Gelb, President and CEO of CareCounsel. "Our Healthcare Assistance Program can help."

CareCounsel is the country's leading provider of healthcare assistance programs, covering employees in all 50 states. The program is available to employers, labor trusts, managed care organizations and healthcare purchasing coalitions.

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