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UAW-Ford Report on Kansas City Area Focuses on Improving Health Care.

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 31 /PRNewswire/ --

The UAW-Ford Community Health Care Initiative released a study today that gives an overall look at the status of health care in the five-county Greater Kansas City area.

Called the Greater Kansas City Community Health Care Assessment Fact Book, the report was two years in the making. It identifies health care segments that meet or exceed the performance of other large U.S. communities and identifies areas that need improvement. The two-volume report also recommends projects that can improve care in the Kansas City area.

"When communities work together to improve care, real strides can be made to make people healthier, keep them well, and make sure that those who need care get it," said Dr. Woodrow Myers, director of Health Care Management at Ford Motor Company. "Benchmarking and identifying gaps between health care needs and resources are just the first steps. Next, we will work with interested community groups to improve health care quality and value for all members of the Kansas City area."

Bob Alpert, executive director, UAW Center for Community Health Care Initiative, said: "We believe that the data in the Fact Book will be as helpful in Kansas City as it has been in other communities, where similar reports have been valuable to coalitions and civic groups. We look forward to working with the Kansas City community as it identifies priorities and develops programs to improve health care for all."

Ford has 8,600 employees and retirees in the Kansas City area. The Greater Kansas City Community Health Care Initiative also is supported by General Motors Corp., which has 8,500 employees and retirees in the Kansas City area. GM has been a participant in similar efforts with the UAW and Ford in other communities.

The report was commissioned by the UAW and Ford and prepared by The Lewin Group, a strategic health and human services consulting firm based in Fairfax, Va. Lewin has 30 years of global experience in tracking health care systems and formulating improvements.

The Greater Kansas City area is comprised of five counties in Missouri and Kansas, and was benchmarked against comparative U.S. metropolitan areas, including St. Louis; Indianapolis; Seattle; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; and Wichita, Kan.

Among the report's findings:

* Residents are hospitalized more often and for longer periods than in the benchmarked communities, which results in increased costs. This is particularly true for medical and psychiatric care.

* There is an excess of hospital capacity and oversupply of hospital beds.

* The overall mortality rate and potential years of life lost is comparable.

* The region has a more pronounced disparity in health status between African-Americans and white residents.

* Maternal care and care of children is comparable to the benchmarked cities.

* Communicable disease results are mixed.

* Hospital payments are higher than in the benchmarked communities.

* Physician service utilization is low.

* Physician fees are lower than in benchmarked communities

* The community has a higher Medicare use rate.

* Chronic conditions are comparable, with the exception of respiratory and pulmonary diseases due to risk factors such as cigarette smoking.

The report was presented to the health care community, civic leaders, health care purchasers, elected officials and philanthropic organizations today at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 31, 2000
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