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Platinum Hermes Creative Award for Health Plan Guide

April 30, 2009 - Health Research for Action (HRA) and the California Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA) won a Platinum Award for excellence, quality, and creativity in the 2009 international Hermes Creative Award competition for their latest California health plan guide. HRA is a health communication, research, and policy center at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. OPA is the first state government program in the United States created to help health plan members get the care they deserve. OPA educates health plan members, and promotes transparency as well as health care quality.

How to Use Your Health Plan was produced as a collaborative effort. The purpose of the guide is to help people get the most from their HMO or PPO. It covers health plan basics, choosing doctors, common benefits, and patients' rights. The guide was produced in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and lists many phone numbers and websites that offer information and assistance for health plan members. The Chinese and Spanish versions include resources providing services in those languages. HRA and OPA have worked together to develop many easy-to-use educational materials for California's diverse population, including California's HMO Guide for Seniors (in English and Spanish). In developing the guide, Health Research for Action drew on more than 20 years of experience helping consumers, especially those with limited literacy, understand and act on important health information.

Health Research for Action worked with health plan members, consumer assistance groups, patient advocacy organizations, and health plans to develop the guide. HRA uses a participatory approach in conducting research with consumers to develop easy-to-use resources that address literacy, design, linguistic and cultural considerations.

How to Use Your Health Plan is available free through the OPA website at or the state Help Center for health plan members at 1-888-466-2219.

Hermes Creative Awards honor outstanding achievements of creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional materials and programs, and emerging technologies. In addition to receiving a 2009 Platinum Award, HRA received an honorable mention for an article on fish contamination in its Perspectives newsletter on public health issues. In 2007 HRA won the Hermes Platinum Award and two Hermes Gold Awards.

April 2010