With recent staff consolidation, the merger of the Group Health Association of America and the American Managed Care and Review Association, effective last Nov. 1, is now complete.
The merger "strengthens the ability of the companies represented, including HMOs, PPOs and other managed-care companies, to speak with one voice to Congress, state legislatures, regulators, the media and the employer community," said George Halvorson, chairman of the GHAA board, in a written statement.
GHAA/AMCRA now represents about 1,000 member companies providing healthcare for more than 100 million people.
One of the merger's main goals was greater operating efficiencies through elimination of duplicate programs and services. As a result, staffing has been reduced from 138 employees to just over 100. Twenty staff members were laid off, said Susan Pisano, GHAA director of communications.
The other 18 employees resigned over a period beginning last summer-"virtually all of them for reasons unrelated to the merger," Pisano said.
Those who left included several staff members who had been with the associations for several years. "There are obviously wonderful things about the merger, but we will miss our colleagues," Pisano said. She declined to mention specific individuals, citing association policy.
AMCRA President Charles Stellar and GHAA Vice President for Government Affairs Diana Dennett have been named executive vice presidents of the new group.
A new name for GHAA/AMCRA is expected to be announced at the organization's policy conference in late February.