WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- AAHP-HIAA today announced that it has completed its transition to a merged organization whose mission remains promoting access to high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, and that it will place special emphasis on legal reform, long-term care, tax matters, combating insurance fraud, and offering solutions designed to promote evidence-based health care. The association announced that it has significantly expanded its state advocacy operations. AAHP-HIAA will also focus on legislative and regulatory issues concerning the consumer choice health care model, and will continue to promote workable partnerships with public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and FEHBP. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20031115/AAHP-HIAALOGO ) Speaking at an afternoon press briefing, AAHP-HIAA President and CEO Karen Ignagni gave a progress report on the AAHP-HIAA merger, a move that was approved by the memberships of both associations in October. Ignagni also reviewed the association's political, legislative and regulatory priorities and announced AAHP-HIAA's new leadership team. "The major transition issues surrounding the merger have been completed. Our members, who cover 200 million Americans, now have a more effective, unified voice. We have a new leadership team. We are relocating to new national headquarters and when Congress and the state legislatures reconvene in January we will be ready to engage," said Ignagni. AAHP-HIAA's new leadership team, drawn from the ranks of senior AAHP and HIAA staff, brings together a highly regarded group of professionals with a broad base of experience in health care, business, government, public policy and legal affairs. (See the following websites for a listing of AAHP-HIAA senior staff: www.aahp.org or www.hiaa.org). Ignagni said that AAHP-HIAA has greatly bolstered its state advocacy operations, including creating a new state policy shop, hiring regional directors and increasing its state lobby force. In addition, AAHP-HIAA has established a dedicated team to work with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). AAHP-HIAA also has deepened its federal, policy, regulatory and legislative teams to better support its members in these important arenas. "As the market is moving to offer more choices of products and delivery systems and opportunities are emerging to create public-private partnerships, we have enhanced and reorganized our federal resources to more effectively support our members," Ignagni said. AAHP-HIAA also announced that next week it is relocating its national headquarters to the following address: 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW South Building Suite 500 Washington, DC 20004. AAHP-HIAA is the national trade association representing the private sector in health care. AAHP-HIAA's nearly 1,300 member companies provide health, long-term care, dental, disability, and supplemental coverage to more than 200 million Americans.