Maybe it's just organized labor that doesn't like Kaiser Permanente.
The much-maligned managed-care company, which has been hit repeatedly by strikes and employee accusations of poor-quality care and service, notched the highest enrollee satisfaction scores of 20 HMOs in California in a survey released last week.
And in a separate evaluation, Kaiser was recognized by a business coalition as the coalition's first "Blue Ribbon HMO" by scoring high on a number of quality and service variables.
The HMO survey was conducted by the California Cooperative Healthcare Reporting Initiative, a San Francisco-based coalition of plans, purchasers and providers.
The CCHRI surveyed 15,000 enrollees in California on their overall satisfaction with the plans and scored HMOs on their performance in six preventive-care areas.
Kaiser plans in Northern and Southern California scored highest in consumer satisfaction (See chart).
Overall, some 77% of the surveyed enrollees said they were satisfied with their HMOs. For individual plans, the satisfaction rate ranged from a low of 67% to a high of 85%.
Also last week, a survey of physician group enrollees by the Pacific Business Group on Health found similarly high satisfaction rates by patients with their medical group practices, many of which provide care to enrollees of the HMOs in the first survey.
The PBGH is a San Francisco-based coalition representing 33 private- and public-sector purchasers.
Fifty-eight medical groups in California, Oregon and Washington participated in the survey, which was done in collaboration with the Medical Quality Commission, a not-for-profit organization based in Seal Beach, Calif.
About 58,000 patients served by the physicians were polled.
The survey found that 80% of enrollees in Northern California and in Northwest states were satisfied with their physician group. That compares with 78% of enrollees in Southern California.
The survey asked enrollees about quality of care, ease of getting care and referrals, doctors' communication skills, blood pressure and cholesterol control, and preventive-care counseling.
The coalition's designation of Kaiser as its "Blue Ribbon HMO" was based on quality indicators such as enrollee satisfaction and preventive care; competitive pricing; advances in healthcare information management; and collaboration with provider partners to improve healthcare delivery.
But the coalition noted that Kaiser has improvements to make because Kaiser physicians in Northern California ranked below average on several satisfaction and quality indicators in the group's survey of medical practices.