Report Card Ranks State HMOs
Kaiser Permanente's Northern California division was rated as "excellent" in three categories in an annual state HMO report card, more than any of the other HMOs evaluated, the Contra Costa Times reports (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 9/28). The 2006 Healthcare Quality Report Card included information on nine HMOs accounting for about 95% of HMO enrollees in California.
The Office of the Patient Advocate produces the report annually (Hagedorn, Bakersfield Californian, 9/28). The rankings are based on reports HMOs submit to the National Committee on Quality Assurance and surveys of HMO members and physician groups (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 9/28).
The report evaluates HMOs in the following categories, based on more specific measures:
- Asthma treatment;
- Cancer screenings;
- Cardiac care;
- Diabetes management;
- Maternity care;
- Mental health care;
- Screening for sexually transmitted infections; and
- Treating infections and providing immunizations to children.
To receive an excellent rating, 80% of patients must have received care consistent with recommended treatment guidelines or reported a favorable experience with the HMO. Plans received "poor" rankings if fewer than 60% of patients received recommended care or reported positive experiences (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/28).
Dr. John Zweifler, a medical consultant to OPA, said that over the past year HMOs improved notably in:
- Examining diabetic patients' eyes;
- Screening for chlamydia; and
- Treating hypertension.
- Breast cancer screenings;
- Follow-up mental health care;
- Smoking cessation advice; and
- Treatment of throat and upper respiratory infections in children (Sacramento Bee, 9/28).