HEALTH PLANS: PBGH Report Card Rates Kaiser The Best
The Pacific Business Group on Health released its fifth annual "HMO report card" yesterday, rating 19 commercial HMOs representing 95% of commercial HMO clients in the state. The report card rated the health plans in nine measures of quality by reviewing 60,000 patient charts and surveying 12,000 HMO enrollees. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that ratings measured member satisfaction, as well as "how well the HMOs provided preventive services during 1997." The criteria included the provisions of "mammograms, cervical cancer screening, childhood and adolescent immunizations and -- when applicable -- whether [members] received prenatal care, post-delivery check-ups, advice to quit smoking, retinal exams" for diabetes and beta blockers after heart attacks. The beta blocker measure, as well as a measure of "post-delivery care for new mothers" was included for the first time. The Union- Tribune reports that Kaiser Permanente topped the ratings among the state's health plans. Based on the member surveys, "overall satisfaction" with HMOs remained fairly high, with about 80% of respondents saying they would recommend their plan to a friend. Dr. Gordon Norman, state medical director for PacifiCare, said, "It is a helpful indication of how attentive these plans and providers are to these measures of care." But, he added, "[T]he amount of the differences (between plans) may not be terribly important." The report can be accessed at www.healthscope.org or it can be ordered for $25 by calling (415)281-8660 (Duerksen, 9/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.