Consumers Frustrated with HMOs

People are losing patience with managed health care providers and favor federal action to protect patients’ rights. Results of a recent nationwide survey show that consumers feel that managed care organizations should not be able to deny treatment and that HMOs should be legally accountable when inappropriate decisions result in harm to a patient. The survey was conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide and commissioned by the Patient Access to Responsible Care Alliance (PARCA).

Ninety-five percent of respondents agree that picking one’s own doctor is important, and 73 percent are concerned that managed health care plans can deny or delay needed treatment too easily.

Respondents were also eager to get the federal government to regulate the industry. Ninety-three percent favor the enactment of federal laws that would require managed care plans to provide patients with clear written information about what services are provided, and 89 percent want laws to ensure patients have access to a fair and timely appeals process when denied treatment. In addition, 92 percent favor the enactment of federal laws ensuring patients adequate access to a full range of health care professionals, including non-MD providers.

“The survey speaks for itself. People want true health care choice and accountability,” says PARCA spokesman David Hebert.

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