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MAPI URGES ENHANCEMENT OF PATIENT SELF-DETERMINATION IN HEALTH CARE DECISION-MAKING

 MAPI URGES ENHANCEMENT OF PATIENT SELF-DETERMINATION
 IN HEALTH CARE DECISION-MAKING
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The Manufacturers' Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) today called on businesses to encourage increased patient self-determination as a critical step toward solving the problems of the U.S. health care system. MAPI says that "(t)he combination of an aging population and the extraordinary advances in medicine has and will continue to put upward pressure on U.S. health care costs unless decisions are made to define the criteria for providing or denying access to innovations in medical procedures and technologies."
 MAPI points out that the stake of industry in health care policy is enormous: between 1970 and 1989 business spending on health care benefits grew by 163 percent; in 1989, 29 percent of all health care expenditures were paid for by business. The new report states that the current 12 percent of national GNP spent on health care is four times as much as investment in all research and development, almost twice as much as all expenditures on education, and more than the annual investment in capital plant and equipment. MAPI warns that the escalation of health care expenditures is "...'crowding out' investments in the types of activities essential to productivity growth and continued improvement in the standard of living of future generations of Americans."
 "Ethical Issues in Terminating Medical Treatment: Implications for the Business Community" was authored by William A. Nelson, medical ethicist and director of the Medical Humanities Section, Dartmouth Medical School. The report provides a careful analysis of the issues and recommends some guidelines for industry to consider. MAPI calls this a "...'win-win' strategy for both employers and employees since the guidelines increase individual choice and benefit industry by supporting limits on the consumption of health care services when, in the employee's view, they appear unlikely to provide any long-lasting benefit."
 The report said there is a widespread belief in the United States that everyone should have access to the most advanced medical procedures even in those cases where the probability of a successful outcome is remote. "Consequently," it states, "we typically overtreat the dying, we promiscuously employ expensive tests and treatments with low marginal utility, and we allocate few health care resources to preventive health care while we maintain thousands of persons for long periods of time in persistent vegetative states." It is estimated that between 5,000 and 10,000 people are in a persistent vegetative state, at an annual cost of between $120 million and $1.2 billion.
 The MAPI report explores issues involved in the use of advance directives, including the Living Will and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, and discusses practical ways companies can promote their use. MAPI urges employers to encourage dialogue in this area and to consider utilizing the guidelines reviewed in this report.
 -0- 1/6/91
 /CONTACT: Peggy Morrissette of MAPI, 202-331-8430/ CO: Manufacturers' Alliance for Productivity and Innovation ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:


MK -- DC011 -- 6927 01/06/92 12:55 EST
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Date:Jan 6, 1992
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