The Nebraska Medical Association is considering a review of managed-care plans that would grade how they use revenues and meet the needs of patients.
The association, the state's largest physician group, discussed the "report card" project at its annual session that concluded in Omaha last week.
"The proposal for a report card is still in the formative stage," said Christopher C. Caudill, M.D., a Lincoln cardiologist and new association president.
The society's resolution said large amounts of money are paid for health insurance, but it is difficult to determine how much of the premium dollar pays for care of patients.
Managed-care reports in other states found variations in percentages of premiums that pay for care and the percentages that go into operation of managed-care plans or into profits.
Caudill said the Nebraska Medical Association wants to be assured that premium dollars would not be siphoned from patient care and into profits. "We want to go beyond marketing material and try to obtain objective information," he said.
James A. Fosnaugh, M.D., of Lincoln, association secretary-treasurer, said, "I think good plans would not be reluctant to share information."
Association officials said a report card could cover more than the percentage of premium dollars devoted to patient care. It also might list information such as range of services, access to care, patient satisfaction and quality measurements, they said.
The association will look into what information is available from different sources and would like to hear from other groups interested in developing a report card, the officers said.
"We also would appreciate input from individuals who have ideas" for this undertaking, Fosnaugh said.
Allen D. Dvorak, M.D., of Omaha said the physicians' concerns are based in part on questions that come up in talking to patients.
The association's board will explore the report card proposal and make recommendations at a later meeting.
The association also said it will evaluate whether it should seek state legislation that would keep "gag rules" out of managed-care contracts. The officers do not know of any gag rule included in contracts in Nebraska, but nationally there have been reports of such contracts that prohibit doctors from discussing some care options with patients.