LA Times: Report criticizes California health plans for treatment of chronic ailments

State report finds easy access to services and care for chronic diseases fall short.

Kaiser PermanenteKaiser Permanente was the only HMO statewide to earn a top four-star rating for providing recommended care based on national guidelines. Above, a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Fresno. (Carlos Chavez, Los Angeles Times / July 30, 2007)
By Chad TerhuneMost California health plans make it hard for patients to get care easily and do a poor job of controlling chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes, a new state report shows.

The findings were published Tuesday in the state’s annual report card on California’s 10 largest HMOs, six biggest preferred-provider organization plans and more than 200 medical groups. The scores on clinical performance and patient satisfaction reflect care for about 16 million Californians with private health insurance.

The California Office of Patient Advocate said the report card allows people to quickly search for information by specific medical conditions and examine the level of patient complaints against health insurers.

Many consumers are demanding more information on healthcare quality and costs as they face rising deductibles and bear a bigger share of their own medical costs even with employer coverage. And hundreds of thousands of Californians are shopping for new policies in the state’s health insurance exchange as part of the Affordable Care Act.

After a long delay and much debate, the Covered California exchange also posted a separate set of quality ratings for most of its health plans last week.

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