- Del Meyer, MD - https://delmeyer.net -

HMO Satisfaction Rating

HMOs have been very successful in reducing health care costs. This has happened primarily by intimidating doctors to provide less care and reduced hospital charges. The HMOs tell patients when they sign them up that they can get all the consultations and care they’ve been accustomed to. When the doctor puts the breaks on the system because he knows he’ll not survive if he doesn’t, the patients complain. There is a lot of passing the buck.

HMOs will tell their enrollees after a denied service to just have their doctor sign a retroactive authorization. We already know this doesn’t work. Today we found out that neither the employees of HMO nor our managed care organization knew that. Confusion is rampant. But HMOs are able to put a positive spin on a bad image.

Consumer Reports gave an HMO a 61 percent satisfaction index. The HMOs, according to George Anders in the Wall Street Journal, have become very sophisticated in their own polls. They found that telephone polls give higher satisfaction ratings than written polls. Also, new subscribers give a higher performance rating, even before they have any experience with the system. Hence, during the sign up quarter the new subscribers give a much higher rating than during the last quarter when they will be more disgruntled. Thus, the satisfaction index will be up to 50 percent higher in an HMO’s personal poll than in an unbiased poll.

Thus with only a 61 percent favorable rating, the HMO is advertising a 91 percent positive image. Dishonesty is rampant in our health care. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. We must keep on guard less we sit on the keg when the dynamite explodes.

These messages were written in the years as noted and may be somewhat dated at this time. Please consult your physician or other health care provider.