The National Committee for Quality Assurance hopes to elevate the degree to which quality of care factors into people's choice of health plans. NCQA is placing health plan report cards on its web site, and it will make customized reports available on employers' internal network sites later this year.
The report cards give users free information that simplifies results for HEDIS clinical, access, and consumer satisfaction measures, as well as a plan's NCQA accreditation status. Responding to criticism that its data went over most people's heads, NCQA created a simplified star-rating system.
But for workers who have a choice of HMOs, or can choose from an HMO, PPO, or indemnity plan, using the information in a comparative sense is not always possible. Only NCQA-accredited plans are listed. NCQA has accredited half of the nation's 650 HMOs, and only earlier this year began a PPO-accreditation program.
Speaking of accreditation, NCQA has added two existing HEDIS measures to the program's requirements. HEDIS performance on antidepressant medication management and cholesterol management will count toward a plan's accreditation score in 2001.