Humana Affirms Transplant Integrity -- Answers Dr. Linda Peeno --

    LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Humana Inc. (NYSE:   HUM) today
 issued a statement affirming its commitment to providing quality affordable
 health care for its health plan members -- including those in need of heart
 transplants.
     "Humana has always strived to assure that no covered beneficiary was
 denied a medically appropriate heart transplant.  We have demonstrated a
 record of integrity and innovation in the area of heart transplantation," said
 Humana corporate spokesman Greg Donaldson.  "Humana offers heart transplants
 as a standard benefit of Humana health plans."
     In 1996, Humana approved 46 heart transplants and denied none.  Humana
 transplants are performed at nationally recognized transplant centers,
 including Johns Hopkins, the UCLA Medical Center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital in
 St. Louis and the Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.
     "We believe in providing the right care, at the right time, in the right
 setting," said Dr. Jerry Reeves, MD, Humana Chief Medical Officer.  "All
 health care professionals should be held accountable for the quality of the
 services they provide."
     Humana provides an exhaustive appeals process for health plan members who
 believe they may have been denied care for any reason.  This process is
 intended to protect the rights of health plan members.  Humana's quality
 management program is an award-winning industry leader.  The National
 Committee for Quality Assurance has so far accredited nine Humana health
 plans.
     Humana believes that the kind of coordinated care the company offers can
 improve quality of life and save lives.  "Ours is a better way to deliver
 health care," said Dr. Reeves.  "We believe in partnering with patients and
 physicians to improve health.  This means improving quality through
 accountability, supporting informed decisions by patients, supplying
 affordable care and providing choices among well-qualified physicians.  At
 Humana, we are committed to putting patients first."
     Humana's statement comes in response to a story told by Kentucky physician
 Dr. Linda Peeno about a heart transplant request 10-years ago.  Dr. Peeno, in
 news reports, has been quoted as recalling that, while working for Humana, she
 recommended non-payment for a heart transplant for an unnamed patient who she
 believes subsequently died.  According to news reports, Dr. Peeno has
 expressed concerns about her past association with various coordinated health
 care companies.
     "Humana believes it is inappropriate to debate today's health care
 concerns on the basis of 10-year old stories," said Donaldson.  "We believe
 this debate is far too vital to be framed outside the context of current
 medical knowledge."
     Dr. Peeno has not provided the news media with the specific details of the
 alleged case in question or the name of the patient.  As a result, Humana has
 been unable to properly investigate the facts of the case.
 
     Humana's review of the records indicates:
     -- Dr. Peeno was not a Humana employee.  She served as a part-time
        consultant.  She averaged 15 hours a week of work for a period of less
        than nine months before resigning her position in 1987.  She was paid a
        flat hourly rate and received no incentive compensation for any
        activity.
     -- Some news accounts have implied that Dr. Peeno might have served as a
        medical director for Humana and that she was paid six figures for her
        work.  She was not a medical director for Humana.  In her short tenure
        as a part-time contractor with the company, she earned less than
        $30,000.
     -- News reports have indicated that Dr. Peeno may have been rewarded for
        her claims denials by Humana.  As a part-time consultant, she received
        no additional financial reward based on any recommendations.
 
     Headquartered in Louisville, Ky., Humana provides coordinated health care
 products and services to more than 4.7 million health plan members, making it
 one of the nation's largest health care companies.
 
     Humana's Web site is http://www.humana.com
 
 

SOURCE Humana Inc.
RELATED LINKS
http://www.humana.com

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