San Luis Obispo HMO Members Get Support for Transition
Blue Shield of California this week will send representatives to San Luis Obispo County to help facilitate a smooth transition to a new physician network for HMO members, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-San Luis Obispo) requested the additional support after hearing complaints from several Blue Shield HMO members about problems receiving care.
Beginning on Jan. 1, Blue Shield HMO members in San Luis Obispo County have been required to seek treatment from physicians affiliated with SLO Select IPA. Blue Shield has about 13,000 HMO members in the county, about 12,500 of whom receive benefits through CalPERS.
CalPERS spokesperson Karen Perkins said the change in physician network is intended to reduce health care costs and provide more coordinated care for CalPERS members. Health care costs for CalPERS are 12.5% higher in San Luis Obispo County than in other counties where it offers HMOs.
Dan Culhane, medical director for SLO Select, said the physician network has hired additional staff and is working with Blue Shield to avoid disruptions to care for members (Arnquist, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 2/3).