SOURCE: National Business Group on Health

March 15, 2007 14:46 ET

National Business Group on Health Honors Barbara Starfield, M.D., MPH

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 15, 2007 -- The National Business Group on Health, a non-profit group of 266 large employers, today awarded its prestigious Award for Excellence and Innovation in Value Purchasing to Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, in recognition of her efforts to promote primary care as the center of the U.S. health care system. Dr. Starfield is the head of the Primary Care Policy Center and University Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health.

"The Business Group is proud to recognize Dr. Starfield, who has spent more than two decades accumulating evidence that a primary care-based health system in the United States truly matters," said Martin Sepulveda, MD, FACP, Vice President, Global Well Being Services and Health Benefits at IBM, member of the Board of the Business Group and Chair of its Award Committee. "Her extensive work and leadership in research, clinical practice and policy have provided empirical evidence that primary care is the foundation to ensuring an efficient, effective and high quality health care system. Through all of her work, Dr. Starfield has developed approaches and methodologies to make the business case for a reformed health care system based on high quality primary care."

The Business Group member employers that nominated Dr. Starfield noted that throughout her career, she has been the leading researcher around awareness of primary care and its importance. Dr. Starfield has brilliantly compared the United States with other developed countries and found that the United States ranked lowest in its primary care functions and lowest in health care outcomes, but highest in health care spending. Dr. Starfield has demonstrated that the U.S. health system's failure to adopt a primary care focus results in poorer health outcomes for all Americans compared with the nation's industrialized peers, and at a much greater cost. She has also been a vocal and fearless leader of prevention and health promotion, including during many years when these topics were decidedly not widely understood or supported by many people outside of the relatively small group of public health experts.

"Dr. Starfield has played a creative role in helping employers and purchasers of healthcare understand the importance of making primary care the center of the healthcare system so that employees and their families can have the best care at an affordable cost," said Helen Darling, President of the National Business Group on Health. "We have taken a strong stance at national levels in public policy and in making private-sector changes to support primary care and primary care services. We believe that primary care is foundational to improved health care and thus is of utmost importance to our members. Dr. Starfield's work has enabled that understanding and provided evidence for our positions, and we are pleased to honor her with this award."

The Business Group annually awards individuals, organizations or programs that encourage the efficient use of health care resources in addition to improving quality and affordability; encourage excellent practices that are started by or involve large employers; or have a proven track record of increasing value in health care through superior purchasing practices or have developed approaches, methodologies and tools that enable outstanding health benefit management practices.

About the National Business Group on Health

The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit, membership organization of large employers devoted exclusively to finding innovative and forward-thinking solutions to their most important health care and related benefits issues. The Business Group identifies and shares best practices in health benefits, disability, health and productivity, related paid time off and work/life balance issues. Business Group members provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information about the Business Group, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org

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