Scorecard on the Way for Preferred Provider Health Plans in California
As expected, the Department of Insurance on Monday unveiled a new health care report card program for six of the state's largest preferred provider organizations, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (R) said, "This is a new program to improve the quality of health care in California." He added, "Consumers should have this information before they sign up for an insurance plan."
Poizner said the participating insurers have agreed to voluntarily provide data on quality of care and patient satisfaction rather than go through a lengthy regulatory process (Swett, Sacramento Bee, 8/7). The insurers are:
- Blue Shield of California;
- Health Net;
- UnitedHealth Group; and
- Wellpoint (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/7).
The department beginning in 2009 will issue an annual report card, awarding one to four stars in:
- Preventive care;
- Effectiveness of treatment;
- Dealing with chronic illnesses; and
- Patient satisfaction.
The data will be compiled and analyzed by a third party, such as a PPO accreditation organization. The information then will be turned over to the state.
Jennifer Kerns, a spokesperson for the Department of Insurance, said the department "will be working with experts to determine the best format and grading system for the PPOs."
The reporting program is modeled after a similar program created six years ago to measure the effectiveness of HMOs.
Consumer and business advocates were skeptical about the program and called for additional steps to be taken to provide information about PPOs (Sacramento Bee, 8/7).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Tuesday reported on the report card program. The segment includes comments from Poizner (O'Mara, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 8/7).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.