None of Californias nine largest HMOs got top marks in an annual quality report card compiled by the state. The health plans, representing 19 million Californians, failed to make the grade in categories such as cancer detection, maternity care and pediatrics. The highest overall performers were Health Net and Kaiser Permanente with three stars out of a possible four.
The bottom line is there is room for improvement, and we can all do better, said John Zweifler, medical consultant for the states Office of the Patient Advocate, which released the seventh annual report.
Among the findings: 60% of obese HMO enrollees did not receive counseling about diet and exercise, and 30% of diabetics dont have control over their blood sugar. One in three enrollees rated their plans unfavorably. The report also rated clinical outcomes of about 200 medical groups in the state. Only the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Kaiser Permanente (in four counties) rated excellent, with four stars.
Nick Garcia, spokesman for Blue Cross of California, a WellPoint subsidiary, which rated fair with two stars overall, said the health plan will focus on areas that need improvement and do what is necessary to make quality care available to all our members. -- by Rebecca Vesely
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