Office of the Patient Advocate Releases HMO Consumer Guide
The Office of the Patient Advocate yesterday released California's first HMO consumer guide, designed to help residents navigate the "often bewildering world" of HMOs, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The guide, which is available free of charge, includes information on topics such as selecting a doctor, switching health plans and resolving problems related to care. The booklet also provides telephone numbers, Web site addresses and other resources to help consumers get additional assistance with health plan questions. "The overriding theme we hear from consumers is confusion: Navigating the health care system out there is very confusing. This guide will be helpful," Daniel Zingale, director of the Department of Managed Health Care, said. Dr. Martin Gallegos, director of the OPA, added that in a time of rising health costs, the guide will help save consumers money by enabling them to be well informed (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 10/30). "This guide addresses questions and helps families get the care they need and expect," Gov. Gray Davis (D) said (Office of the Governor release, 10/29). The guide is currently available in English and Spanish, and there are "tentative plans" to produce a Chinese-language version of the guide in 2003 (San Jose Mercury News, 10/30). The guide can be viewed online. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat to view the guide.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.