2003 Health Plan Performance Guide Released

PEMBROKE, Mass. — For the seventh consecutive year, the Massachusetts Healthcare Purchaser Group (MHPG), the state’s only coalition of private and public health care purchasers, has released its annual Guide to Health Plan Performance. The 2003 guide contains a selection of quality-of-care measures and member satisfaction survey results for nine major health plans operating in Massachusetts drawn from data published annually by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
The guide compares health plans both to each other and to the national average on a variety of primary preventive and disease management measures for a range of both healthy and chronically ill populations.

“This year’s national averages continue to show a steady improvement over the past few years, and, with very few exceptions, our Massachusetts health plans score at or above the national average on all the measures we monitor,” said Ann Aaberg, executive director of the Massachusetts Healthcare Purchaser Group. “That is not to say, however, that there isn’t room for improvement. The MHPG was one of the earliest groups to focus attention on chlamydia screening rates. Since we began watching two years ago, we’ve seen the screening rates for this growing problem barely climb from 22{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} to 25{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} on a national basis. That is a very low number, and even our best Massachusetts plan is only at 43{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}.”

Aaberg continues to stress the importance of getting under the health plan averages to be able to highlight variation in performance among specific physicians.

“Most of the health plans have very wide networks now, so there is a great deal of overlap of physicians among the plans. To effectively target improvement efforts and to encourage consumers to seek out high-quality hospitals and physicians, we need to be able to publish information at that level. Positive steps are being taken in this direction, but there is still a great deal of work left to do.”

The guide is available at MHPG’s Web site, www.mhpg.org.

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