The American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) today announced that it is retaining Hollywood's leading talent agency, William Morris, in an effort to build bridges between health plans and the entertainment community. This is the first time an industry has forged a strategic relationship with a major Hollywood agency to reposition itself among the creative community.

"More Americans receive their health care information from Hollywood than from the nightly news, yet most groups in Washington focus on news media and entirely ignore the entertainment community," said Karen Ignagni, AAHP President and CEO. "We can't afford to be so dismissive. We have a responsibility to keep Hollywood up-to-date on how health plans help women with mammogram screenings, how we care for over 500,000 individuals who live with HIV and AIDS and how we keep heath care more affordable for all Americans."

Over the past decade, Washington and the entertainment community have wrestled with numerous health care issues. While Washington has debated national health reform, managed care reform and bills to increase access to prescription drugs, Hollywood has churned out hits like "ER," "Chicago Hope" and the movie "John Q." However, there has been an almost total disconnect between Washington's public policy experts and Hollywood's entertainment experts.

"The AAHP recognizes the powerful influence of entertainment and we look forward to helping them engage this creative community in a way that will benefit their members and the American public," said Johnny Levin, Senior Vice President of William Morris Consulting.

In the months ahead, William Morris will help AAHP navigate the Hollywood community and foster a meaningful dialogue with producers, writers and directors about the complex challenges of modern health care.

The American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) is a national trade organization representing more than 1,000 health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and other similar health plans that provide health care coverage to more than 170 million Americans.