California providers form new association

Monday, September 30, 2002

FREMONT, Calif. - In direct response to Coloplast's new managed care agreement with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, a group of independent women's health providers has organized a new association that promises to offer collective representation to small businesses.

The American Association of Breast Care Specialists was formed after some 75 provider representatives met with Coloplast executives in early September to air their concerns about the Marietta, Ga.-based manufacturer's new Kaiser contract. The providers' bone of contention centers on terms that they use only Coloplast/Amoena products for Kaiser patients.

Cheryl Maloney, director of marketing and business development for Fremont, California-based Bras For Body and Soul, has been named president of the new organization. Tricia McMahon, owner of Bras for Body and Soul, is vice president. Dorothy Clark and Herschel Peeler of Nancy's Boutique in Fresno, Calif., have been named secretary and treasurer, respectively.

Although the group is still "a work in progress," Maloney says its vision and intent are firmly established.

"Our goal is to provide a vehicle of collective representation for independent entrepreneurs," she said. "We will pull together with one voice to help address issues that affect our survival in the marketplace. It is an opportunity to educate each other, share information and enhance each others' businesses."

The group's representation will include negotiating contracts with managed care payers and serving as a political voice for small independent providers, Maloney said. Although a formal membership roster hadn't been officially drawn up at press time, the new president estimated that more than 100 people had expressed an interest in joining the group. HME