HMOs Show Improvement in California’s Annual Report Card
Most of the stateâs HMOs received higher patient satisfaction ratings in 2009 than they did in 2008, but many of the plans still are falling short on certain measures, according to the California Office of the Patient Advocateâs annual report card of HMO performance, the Los Angeles Times reports (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 2/10).
The report card, released Tuesday, grades the health plans on:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
- Patient satisfaction; and
- Meeting national standards of care (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 2/10).
About 21 million California residents receive coverage through HMOs (Perkes, "Healthy Living,"Â Orange County Register, 2/10).
The report card also evaluated top-rated medical groups
including Sutter Regional Medical Foundation and Woodland Healthcare (Trujillo,
Sacramento Business Journal, 2/10).
Report Card Improvements
Six of Californiaâs nine largest HMOs showed improvements in patient satisfaction ratings, according to the report card.
Kaiser Permanenteâs Southern California region received the report cardâs highest grade -- four stars -- for medical care and patient satisfaction (Los Angeles Times, 2/10). It was the first time in the report cardâs nine-year history that an HMO received the highest score possible in both categories (Ventura County Star, 2/10).
Kaiser Permanenteâs Northern California division received four stars for patient care, while PacifiCare of California and Western Health Advantage received four stars for patient satisfaction (Los Angeles Times, 2/10).
Blue Shield of California and Cigna were the only HMOs to receive ratings less than âgoodâ by their members. The HMOs were given two stars, a âfairâ rating.
The report card also showed that HMOs have made improvements in blood sugar screening for patients with diabetes and cholesterol tests for patients with cardiovascular problems (Ventura County Star, 2/10).Areas of WeaknessAccording to the report card, HMOs still have room for improvement in several areas, including:
- Administration of antibiotics to children;
- Chlamydia screenings for sexually active enrollees;
- Follow-up care for mental health patients (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 2/10); and
- Colorectal cancer screenings (Los Angeles Times, 2/10).
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.