MANAGED CARE QUALITY: NCQA Unveils New Online Report Card
The National Committee for Quality Assurance's new Health Plan Report Card allows consumers to obtain "free access to comprehensive information about the clinical performance, member satisfaction, access to care and overall quality" of managed care plans via the Internet. The report card, available at www.ncqa.org, provides a searchable database of about half of the country's 650 HMOs. Users may search the site by plan name, location, area code or plan type. "Enrolling in a health plan without checking on its quality is the equivalent of buying a car without a test drive," Trudy Lieberman, director of the Center for Consumer Health Choices and NCQA board member, said. She added that the report card offers consumers a "window into how the health plan works." The report card awards plans, which must be NCQA-accredited to participate, scores from zero to four stars in five main areas -- "access and service," "qualified providers," "staying healthy," "getting better" and "living with illness." NCQA plans to make the report card available in a customized format for various companies' intranet sites (NCQA release, 2/29).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.