State releases HMO report card

The Associated Press
Wednesday October 02, 2002

SACRAMENTO — Half of the state’s 18 million patients in health maintenance organizations can’t leave their HMO because their employers only offer one insurance plan, but they may be able to find a better medical group within that HMO. 

On Tuesday, Davis administration officials released the 2002 HMO Quality Report Card, designed to give consumers more information about HMOs and medical groups so they can find a doctor who will best serve them. 

The report card rates 10 of the largest HMOs in California, representing approximately 95 percent of the state’s HMO enrollees. 

This year, the report focused on 80 of the state’s largest medical groups in 11 regions, rating overall services, specialty care, patient relationships and timely care. 

The report by the state’s Office of the Patient Advocate found that patients tend to be happy with the relationships with their doctor, but are less satisfied with the medical groups’ ability to offer timely care. 

Martin Gallegos, director of the Office of the Patient Advocate, called the report an “anxiety-relieving remedy.” 

“When people are aware of their health care options, they are able to get the best care available,” Gallegos said, adding that the report card makes it easier for HMO enrollees to compare different health care groups in their area. 

It’s based on a survey of more than 35,000 HMO patients in the state. 

“This is not a movie rating,” said Daniel Zingale, director of the Department of Managed Health Care. “A missing star can mean a missing surgeon, or a missing service.”