Ethix Corp. has become the first preferred provider organization to join the ranks of managed-care plans that have published health quality "report cards" for consumers.
So far, three health maintenance organizations-Blue Bell, Pa.-based U.S. Healthcare's Pennsylvania HMO; United HealthCare Corp., Minnetonka, Minn.; and the Northern California unit of Kaiser Permanente, Oakland-have published performance results based on their own quality measurements.
Portland, Ore.-based Ethix, which operates 13 PPOs covering some 5 million beneficiaries, said its report card as- Qualitysessed its three largest operations-in Denver, Minneapolis and Philadelphia-during a one-year period.
In the report card, the PPO published information such as the operations' yearly mammogram rate for women older than 50, their Caesarean-section rate and chemical dependency readmission rate.
The company said it followed administrative guidelines used by the Washington-based National Committee for Quality Assurance to compile its measurements. NCQA, which is an HMO accreditation agency, recently launched a project to develop a national report card for use by HMOs and PPOs (Feb. 14, p. 12).
Ethix isn't a member of that project, primarily because of the expense, a spokesman said. Ethix spent as much as $60,000 on its project. The cost of participating in NCQA's project would have been an additional $100,000. He said Ethix's cash would be better spent perfecting the reporting systems in all of its plans.