For Immediate Release


Contact: Barbara Erb
U.S. Living Will Registry
Phone: (908) 654-1441/Fax: (908) 654-1919

North American Medical Management Sees National Registry As a Great Tool To Ensure Patients' Health Care Choices are Fulfilled

Service will ensure a channel of communication is in place
for seriously ill patients

Emeryville, CA. (May 7, 2001) - North American Medical Management, California (NAMM, CA.) one of the premier managed care organizations in the state is taking steps to educate its 500,000 members of the benefits of living wills and advance care planning. In cooperation with the U.S. Living Will Registry of Westfield, N.J., NAMM is aggressively breaking down the barriers of silence and opening a dialogue on end-of-life issues to ensure patients' health care choices are available and known wherever and whenever needed.

The organization, which oversees over 2,000 physicians in several independent practitioner associations (IPA's), has been working to educate patients about the benefits of advance directives for over seven years. This is just one of the many added values the managed care provider offers members. Benefiting from its close working relationship with many health plans, NAMM is in a key position to help manage all aspects of care.

"Informing members of the benefits of getting these documents in their doctors hands is critical," said Maureen Rafferty, NAMM's director of corporate communications. Under the organization's Care Connections program Care Coordinators offer members education and support including information about living wills.

By specifying their wishes in the advance directive document, individuals can ensure that their loved ones will never be placed in the agonizing position of having to make decisions about life support and long term care. Doctors, too, are grateful for the documents as they provide a clear direction for the treatment of the patient. An advance directive provides a window into a person's thinking when they were capable of making clear choices about the care they would like to receive in the event of serious illness.

End-of-life issues are never easy to discuss, but as baby boomers approach retirement age, the topic has become the focus of much attention. "You wouldn't want to leave your family with a large financial burden, so why would you avoid taking one easy step to ensure they are not faced with an overwhelming emotional burden," said Barmakian. "It's a great comfort to families, knowing that their loved one's wishes are being fulfilled."

Living will and other advance directive documents are useless if they are not available when needed. Studies show that about 35% of advance directives are not available when they are needed. Registering an advance directive with the
U.S. Living Will Registry eliminates that possibility. The Registry stores the documents electronically, and makes them available to hospitals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Any hospital can call the registry at 1-800-LIV-WILL to see if a patient has an advance directive on file. The document is then faxed to the hospital and placed in the medical record. There is no cost to the registrant. Because only hospitals and health care providers have access to the documents, privacy and confidentiality are maintained.

North American Medical Management, California (NAMM, CA), a PhyCor Company, develops and manages independent practice associations or PODSŪ (Physician Organized Delivery Systems), providing medical management and related support services to assist physicians in their managed care operations. NAMM currently administers a California enrollment of over 505,685 commercial equivalent managed care members representing approximately 2000 primary care and specialist physicians statewide. PhyCor, Inc., headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, operates medical clinics and manages physician networks.

The U.S. Living Will Registry is a free nationwide service that stores advance directives electronically, and makes them available 24 hours a day to hospitals and health care providers across the country. For more information about services the U.S. Living Will Registry provides, or to obtain a registration form, please call 1-800-LIV-WILL (1-800-548-9455). Or visit the U.S. Living Will Registry's web site: Registration forms can be downloaded from the web site.




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