Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Managed Care: Exploring Costs, Promoting Value

California leads the nation in enrolling residents in HMOs, but it is rare for the state's doctors, employers, insurers, and patients to talk together about this radical transformation in health-care delivery, according to Margaret McLean, director of health-care ethics at the Markkula Center.

"Managed Care: Exploring Costs, Promoting Value" is a conference intended to address that problem. "Our conversations about managed care tend to be so polarized," said McLean. "This is an attempt to move us from those poles into an arena where we can talk."

Scheduled for May 10, the conference will include a case study moderated by Peter Facione, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University. Addresses on business realities and on a physician's view of the ethical issues in managed care are also planned.

"The conference brings together groups that are usually not at the same table—business managers, managed-care representatives, doctors and other health-care providers, and the general public," said McLean. "It's a conversation across disciplines."

In fact, the conversation will begin long before the event takes place. Prior to the conference, "listening meetings" will be convened for members of all the stakeholder groups. At these discussions, participants will identify the positive and negative aspects of managed care from their particular point of view.

"What we learn from these meetings should allow the conference participants to get beyond sniping and complaining about what's not working to focus on what each group shares in common," said Center Director Thomas Shanks, S.J. "The goal is to seek common ground so that the conference can make headway in defining next steps."

The conference is sponsored by the Markkula Center, the Santa Clara County Medical Association, O'Connor Hospital Applied Ethics Center, and Leavey School of Business and Administration Executive Development Center.