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PACIFIC HEALTH PLANS HELPS MEMBERS HELP THEMSELVES; HMO TEACHES SELF-CARE FOR MINOR ILLNESSES

 PACIFIC HEALTH PLANS HELPS MEMBERS HELP THEMSELVES;
 HMO TEACHES SELF-CARE FOR MINOR ILLNESSES
 SEATTLE, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid growing consumer concerns about health insurance coverage and costs, Pacific Health Plans will soon tap an overlooked source of economical and effective health care, the company announced today.
 Starting May 1, members of the Seattle-based health maintenance organization (HMO) will receive a self-care manual for recognizing and treating minor illnesses at home.
 "Roughly 80 percent of health care today occurs outside of the medical system," said Pacific Health Plans President Michael Fleck. "Yet health-care providers and insurers too often ignore the importance of home health care."
 In easy-to-understand language, the HMO's Healthwise Handbook describes methods of prevention and home treatment for more than 145 common illnesses and injuries. It also makes clear when to seek professional help. Most Pacific Health members will receive training on how to best use the handbook and the health-care system in general.
 "We think the handbook will improve the ability and confidence of our members to take charge of their health, and make better, more informed decisions," said Fleck. "It also stands to reduce unnecessary costs, allowing us to keep premiums low."
 According to a 1991 survey, participants in a similar program had 40 to 77 percent fewer office visits for the most frequent minor illnesses.
 "Our objective is not to discourage needed health care," said Fleck, "but to empower members to care for themselves when self care is appropriate."
 The award-winning handbook has been favorably reviewed by Pacific Health's primary care providers. It is only part of the HMO's wellness program, which includes classes on smoking cessation, stress management and weight loss.
 Pacific Health Plans is a health maintenance organization serving 21,000 members in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and Kitsap counties. Established in 1984, it manages health care for its members through a comprehensive network of primary care physicians, specialists and hospitals throughout the region.
 Now in its 10th edition, the Healthwise Handbook was developed by Healthwise Inc., a non-profit organization in Boise, Idaho.
 -0- 4/29/92
 /CONTACT: Michael P. Fleck of Pacific Health Plans, 206-326-4645; or Steve Bryant of Evans P.R., 206-285-5522, for Pacific Health Plans/ CO: Pacific Health Plans ST: Washington IN: HEA SU: PDT


JH-SC -- SE004 -- 4351 04/29/92 12:03 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 29, 1992
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