SACRAMENTO, Calif.-Omni Healthcare has been certified by the California Department of Health Services as the commercial Medi-Cal contractor for Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. CaliforniaCare, a Blue Cross of California product, had been the department's original choice to offer a commercial HMO under the state's new two-plan model for Medicaid managed care (May 27, p. 28). But Omni appealed the decisions, alleging errors in scoring the bids, and won. Blue Cross then appealed the revised decisions but lost.
GREAT FALLS, Mont.-The city's two hospitals, which recently merged, have renamed themselves Benefis Health Care. The hospitals acknowledged that the word "benefis" can't be found in the dictionary but is related to such words as "beneficial," "benefit" and "beneficence." The hospitals said the name Benefis "connotes the act of kindness and compassion, or a good place. The meaning of Benefis Health Care will be defined by us, through our actions over time, as the healthcare facility serving all within our community and region." The hospitals that make up Benefis are 339-bed Montana Deaconess Medical Center and 145-bed Columbus Hospital. In July, the hospitals became the first hospitals in the country to merge under a state healthcare antitrust exemption law (July 8, p. 5).
SACRAMENTO, Calif.-Eighty percent of the 440,000 members of the California Public Employee Retirement System-a risk pool with $1.5 billion in annual healthcare premiums-say they are satisfied with their HMOs. That's up from 75% in 1993. The results are part of CalPERS' evaluation of 20 HMOs and PPOs in its health program. Members' PPO satisfaction rose to 82% this year from 69% in 1993. The survey also found that among members with high use of plan services-such as those recently hospitalized-seven of the 20 plans showed a decrease in satisfaction. According to CalPERS, this year's survey findings indicate plans need to focus on customer service, physician office efficiency and physician access.