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New Healthcare Ratings Available To California Consumers

Aired 1/8/14 on KPBS News.

Consumer Reports is releasing new ratings of medical groups in California that are based on patients’ experiences.

It’s hard to find a solo practitioner these days. Most doctors are part of a medical group.

The new ratings grade each group in four specific areas of patient care: how well groups communicate with patients, whether people can get appointments in a timely manner, coordination of care and helpfulness of office staff.

Consumer Reports medical director John Santa said the ratings don't measure patient outcomes.

"This is a more qualitative and subjective measurement of care," Santa said. "It shows significant differences among physician groups in California, when it comes to how patients are experiencing their care."

Besides ratings on individual categories, each group is also given an overall care score, from 1 to 100.

Santa pointed out no group in San Diego or Imperial County scored higher than 73.

"Even the best physician groups aren’t satisfying patients at the highest rates, as much as I think we’d all like to believe they do," Santa said.

The ratings are in the February edition of Consumer Reports magazine.

Thanks to the California HealthCare Foundation, non-subscribers can also see the ratings on a new website: calqualitycare.org.

The foundation’s Maribeth Shannon said the website also has ratings of hospitals and nursing homes.

"So people can determine what’s important to them, and hopefully find measures on this site that will really help them make a good choice," Shannon said.

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