A report by the West Coast office of Consumers Union charges that the California Department of Corporations, which regulates HMOs, has failed in its responsibility to educate and inform consumers to help them choose an HMO.
The advocacy group said the department's medical survey reports, the only official consumer resource on HMO quality, were difficult to obtain and understand and contained inadequate and outdated information.
The study lists 10 recommendations on how the department can improve efforts to inform consumers about HMO quality of care.
"We're doing everything we can to enhance our medical survey process and make it both fair to the plans and user-friendly," a department spokesman said.
The department plans to have the surveys conducted by an outside agency. They will be made available via the Internet beginning late this year, he said.