Washington - America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has collaborated with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a checklist insurers can use to prepare contingency plans for a flu pandemic.

The final version of the "Health Insurer Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist" has just been released but drafts were available to insurers in as they refined their company preparedness plans.
The checklist provides step-by-step guidance for companies as they update plans.

Themes that emerge in the checklist include the impact of a pandemic on the needs of employees; changes in services to members; communication, educational and resource needs of members and employees; changes in business practices and policies; and coordination with external organizations.

"Events that occurred early in this new century--the 9/11 attacks on our nation, the subsequent anthrax attacks, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, SARS and the emergence of a new strain of avian influenza--prompted a renewed emphasis within our community on preparedness for the full range of disasters," says Karen Ignagni, AHIP president and CEO.

In the face of a disaster, health insurers must be ready to serve their members and work with public health agencies to promote the best response possible, she says.

The checklist, based on models from workplaces, municipalities and healthcare institutions, is part of an AHIP  preparedness effort that has included education for health insurance plan employees, conference calls for health plan leaders and a readiness task force with members from the AHIP board of directors.

AHIP also is planning a two-day pandemic simulation for health care leaders for January 2008.

Source: America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

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