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Calif. Patients More Satisfied with HMOs

— California's ninth annual report card on HMO quality is in. And most of the state's largest HMOs showed improvement in patient satisfaction.

Consumer opinions were compiled to give HMOs a rating from one to four stars. None of the insurers scored less than two. Western Health Advantage, PacifiCare, and Kaiser Permanente in Southern California all got four stars.

The California Office of the Patient Advocate released the report card. Director Sandra Perez says things are getting better.

"Last year three of the plans had actually declined in their patient satisfaction scores," she says. "This year, to see six out of the nine largest HMOs show improvement, is very encouraging."

The report card also graded plans on how well they met national clinical standards of quality. In general, HMOs lagged in cancer screenings and follow-up care for mental illnesses.

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