At the American Association of Health Plans Institute meeting last week, nearly 3,400 managed-care executives gathered in Boston to contemplate a rising tide of public, anti-managed-care sentiment, elect a new chairman, and listen to potential U.S. presidential candidates Dan Quayle and Bill Bradley lay out their visions of the future.
Phil Nudelman, chairman and president of Seattle's Kaiser/Group Health, was elected chairman of the AAHP board for a two-year term.
In his inaugural speech, Nudelman challenged the industry not to "take shelter in a bunker mentality" or "react defensively" to public criticism of HMOs and legislative attempts to impose new layers of regulation on the industry.
He also challenged the association to forge closer ties with other leading healthcare industry counterparts, such as the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association.
But Nudelman admitted the industry is "fatigued" and that several years of downsizing, mergers, political scrutiny and public criticism have taken a toll.
Numerous sessions at the conference addressed widespread calls for tougher regulation of the industry and questioned managed care's ability to control medical inflation over the next few years.