2020 marks the 50th anniversary of a report that had a profound effect on health care in the U.S. – the AHA’s Report of the Special Committee on the Provision of Health Services. The report, better known as “Ameriplan,” served as the AHA’s first broad look at overall health care coverage, financing and delivery in this country. While specifics have changed over time, a number of the proposal’s themes remain as relevant today as they were when first released by the association a half century ago. Appropriately, policymakers often still cite its findings.
The report offered a broad plan to make health care more affordable and the overall system more comprehensive, responsive and relevant to community needs.
Earl Perloff led the report’s development, serving as chairman of the AHA’s Special Committee in 1971 when the board first conceived the Ameriplan. Perloff, a well-known businessman who was long active in hospital and health affairs, was an early advocate for investing in upstream interventions in health care while focusing resources on prevention and comprehensive, community-wide care.
Perloff would serve as a member on AHA’s board of trustees; chairman of the board of the Albert Einstein Medical Center; chairman of the board of trustees for Philadelphia General Hospital, an acute-care facility; a member on the board of directors and later board chairman of Blue Cross; and chairman of the Mayor’s Committee on Municipal Hospital Services in Pennsylvania.
The Special Committee was comprised of 15 members, including physicians, lawyers and hospital administrators and other important leaders, including Ed Connors, who went on to chair the AHA Board of Trustees. The group’s well-roundedness lent a great deal of credibility to their conclusions – credibility that remains today.