Santa Monica, Calif.-based Rand Corp. said a study of prenatal care provided by six health maintenance organizations found "significant variations" in some treatment and services, but overall, it said the quality of care was "quite good."
Researchers identified 48 categories of treatment and reviewed about 100 randomly selected medical records in each of the six plans to measure how well the HMOs delivered the recommended care. For example, about 87% of women had their first prenatal care visit in the first trimester, compared with the national average of 76%.
The study, which is known as the HMO Quality of Care Consortium, was among several reports funded by the Hartford Foundation in cooperation with 11 HMOs. "The consortium studies demonstrate that it is feasible to provide the public with comparative information on the quality of healthcare offered by various plans," said Elizabeth A. McGlynn, a study author.