Best PR Campaign: Physician Organization Uses HMO Crisis to Push Patient Coverage Issue

When a New Jersey health plan became insolvent after owing millions of dollars in unpaid claims, its members were forced to learn a painful lesson about the need for a safety
net the state lacked -- an insurance guaranty trust fund. If such a fund had been in place last year when HIP of New Jersey liquidated and the state took over, the $120 million in
unpaid claims would have been paid and a healthcare crisis would have been averted. Instead, the health plan's dire financial situation caused physicians to practice without
guaranty of payment and left 200,000 members panicked about the future of their health coverage. This crisis prompted the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) to launch a
statewide advocacy campaign that promoted the need for a statewide guaranty fund. Eventually MSNJ filed suit against HIP to recover costs for physicians who were previously
employed by HIP. Throughout the crisis, MSNJ relied on the communications counsel of The MWW Group in Washington, D.C., to position the physician organization as a frontline
patient advocate with the media, state agencies and legislators. By the time the curtain closed on the crisis, the campaign helped to land statewide support for rectifying a
problem that would have left physicians uncompensated and set the wheels in motion for protecting patient coverage when a managed care organization goes out of business.