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PacifiCare Exec Conspicuous in His Absence

When health-care execs, top policy wonks and docs gathered last week for UC Irvine’s annual conference on managed care, one item burning in the minds of many got short shrift: Cypress-based PacifiCare Health Systems Inc.'s proposed $2.1-billion buyout of its Orange County rival, FHP International Corp.

Though JonC Wampler, chief executive officer of PacifiCare’s California HMO, was scheduled weeks beforehand to speak alongside a Federal Trade Commission official at a session on HMO mergers, Wampler didn’t show. The official reason was that he was suddenly called into an important executive meeting, but attendees speculated that Wampler ducked out because he didn’t want to make noises about the merger while it’s still under review by state regulators.

Barbara Marsh covers health care for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7762 and at barbara.marsh@latimes.com


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