Sacramento Bee Editorial Addresses HMO Departure from Rural Areas
HMOs' "retreat" from rural markets in California illustrates the "failure" of health plans to "manage care," the failure of doctors to handle the "economic realities" of practicing in sparsely populated areas and the failure of employers to use their "clout" to encourage HMOs to remain in rural areas, a Sacramento Bee editorial states. To remedy the situation, the paper recommends that "[a]ll the players that contributed to [the problem of HMOs leaving rural markets] now must work toward a solution." It recommends that HMOs "should live up to their billing as organizations capable of managing care, not just negotiating price." Further, the editorial recommends that doctors ask "some hard questions about the prices they charge, and the way they practice medicine." Finally, the Bee recommends that CalPERS "review how it prices health coverage" throughout the state "to encourage HMO competition in rural areas, not drive it away" (Sacramento Bee, 9/2).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.