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PMA FORMING HEALTH CARE QUALITY ALLIANCE THROUGH CONTACTS WITH PHYSICIAN, ELDERLY AND DISEASE GROUPS: PART OF TARGETED COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM

Executive Summary

PMA is planning an initial two-day meeting of the Health Care Quality Alliance on June 29-30 as part of an effort to build closer ties to medical specialty, disease and aging foundations. As of the date of PMA's annual meeting (May 19), a dozen physician, disease and elderly groups had already agreed to attend the first meeting of the alliance. The groups that plan to attend include the American College of Cardiology, American Medical Association, American Society of Internal Medicine, Association of American Medical Colleges, American Diabetes Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, National Organization of Rare Disorders, Gerontological Society of America, National Caucus & Center on Black Aged, and National Council on Aging. The Health Care Quality Alliance is being formed as part of a recently-initiated, $1.7 mil. communications program undertaken by PMA. The program, approved by the association's board at the end of 1986 and formally entitled the Communications Enhancement Program, is designed in part to help the industry develop closer ties with groups in the health care field that share common interests in disease treatment and medical research. PMA and its public relations consultant for the program, Burson-Marsteller, have identified 32 health care groups to contact about the alliance. The new PMA communications program is focused on decision makers in the purchase of health care services, such as benefits managers, employees and shareholders of pharmaceutical companies, and related health care groups. Unlike previous PMA communications programs, image advertising to the general public will not be a primary target. "Working with Burson-Marsteller," PMA President Mossinghoff told the annual meeting, "the Public Affairs Section and the PMA staff are embarked on efforts to build coalitions and develop allies in seeking industry political goals and to direct important messages at selected target audiences." PMA 1986-1987 Chairman William Miller (Bristol-Myers) noted that "specific elements of [the communications program] already have been initiated to tell better our industry's story to the public and to health care officials of every kind." Miller said the program would be aimed "from ivory tower rsearchers to specialists in cost containment -- some of whom, I fear, also dwell in their own ivory tower." To reach benefit plan managers, for example, PMA is sponsoring a quarterly newsletter, Quality Care Insights, and sending it to 15,000 health care decision makers. In conjunction with the National Health Council, PMA is planning a conference on Nov. 17 to focus on industry research and development projects. The conference will be coordinated with groups and foundations for specific diseases. To stimulate PMA member firm contacts with shareholders, executives, employees and retirees, the association sponsored a meeting in mid-May attended by representatives of about three dozen PMA firms. PMA has developed an organizational handbook for guiding company communications. PMA 1987-1988 Chairman Lawrence Hoff (Upjohn) described this section of the communications program as "ally development." It is "actually a blueprint," Hoff said, "for member companies to launch their own grassroots programs." In addition to internal programs, PMA is encouraging companies to develop contacts with "state associations, professional associations and individuals of these organizations who have or could have ties to company employees."
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