MEDICARE: Will Release Only Partial HMO ‘Report Card’
Government officials announced last week they will "release only a partial report" on performance measures for Medicare HMOs. Under a $6.2 million grant from the Health Care Financing Administration, the National Committee for Quality Assurance has been collecting data on 24 performance indicators for the past 18 months, but HCFA will release the data in "only seven areas, including breast cancer screening and eye exams for diabetics." In choosing to withhold some data, the HCFA cited "concerns about the reliability of the information and its own ability to present the findings in an understandable form." The AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports the "need for information about health plans has never been greater," given the 440,000 seniors affected by Medicare HMO withdrawals this year. The report, along with "results of a consumer satisfaction survey of 125,000 Medicare HMO members," will be made available this month at www.Medicare.gov, and "will be distributed through senior citizen advocacy groups and in Medicare handbooks" (Galewitz, 12/25).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.