THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
|For Immediate Release|| ||June 23, 1998|
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES NEW EFFORTS
TO MAKE THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEMMORERESPONSIVE TO FAMILIES
Tipper Gore Announces New Public/Private Network to Support Children ofPatients with Serious Mental and Physical Illness
Nashville, TN -- Vice President Gore announced a new directive today tomakethe Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) more family-friendly,while Tipper Gore launched a new public-private partnership to helpfamiliescope with serious mental and physical illness.
"Tipper and I are pleased to be here today to talk about family-centeredcare-- an approach that relies on the partnership between providers, patients,andfamilies to promote health and healing," the Vice President said on thesecondday of the Gores' seventh annual conference on policy issues of majorconcernto families and children. "Family-centered care acknowledges that thefundamental health care provider in America today is the family, and it isdesigned to unleash the healing power of the family."
The Vice President and Mrs. Gore moderated the "Family Re-Union 7:Familiesand Health," and each made announcements to help make health care morefamily-centered.
The Vice President:
Directed the FEHBP to Encourage Family Friendly Health Plans: The FEHBPwillhold a series of meetings with families over the next year to identify waysthat its health plans can be more responsive to the needs of families, anditwill publish these findings in its 1999 annual call letter to insurers as acondition for participation in the program.
Mrs. Gore met with children and their families to discuss theirexperiencescoping with their parents' mental and physical illnesses and the effect ofthese illnesses on their children.
In her remarks, Mrs Gore:
Launched a public-private network to support children and patients withseriousmental and physical illnesses: A network of private and public groups willcometogether to support children of cancer and other seriously ill patients.Inaddition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and theNational Cancer Institute will form a partnership to bring togetherresearchersand service providers to help support children.
"We don't give credit, particularly to children, for the empathy, theresilience, and the downright individual strength we see in families facing amedical crisis, whether the crisis affects a sibling, a parent, or agrandparent," Mrs. Gore said. "And that is why I am pleased that theFederalGovernment, in partnership with families, scientists, caregivers, privatefoundations, and health and social services professionals, have joinedtogetherto help our children cope with their parents' illnesses."
The Vice President and Mrs. Gore heard reports from roundtable discussionsaddressing the following issues: principles of care for families with youngchildren; family-centered elder care at home and in medical settings;successful community-based initiatives; strategies to give families theinformation they want; bringing families into the design of health caresettingand medical training; creating responsive, flexible policy; and measuringsuccess.
The day's activities followed on the heels of a discussion the day beforewith President Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice PresidentGoreand Tipper Gore. The conference is co-sponsored by the Child and FamilyPolicyCenter at Vanderbilt University, and the Children, Youth & FamilyConsortium ofthe University of Minnesota.