NU Online News Service, Oct. 5, 10:01 a.m. – PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., released its 7th semi-annual QUALITY INDEX profile today, providing its members with measurements of the performance of 199 medical groups, representing approximately 25,000 doctors, which serve 2.2 million commercial and Medicare+Choice members in California.

The latest edition of the profile now rates medical groups in more than 40 specific measures including new areas of patient safety and affordability. Ongoing measures range from preventive health screenings and clinical treatment of chronic diseases to frequency of member complaints and overall satisfaction with the level of service, Pacificare says.

The new profile data continue to demonstrate that the behavior of both health care consumers and health care providers is significantly influenced when performance measurements are made available to health plan members and their doctors, says Dr. Sam Ho, a vice president at PacifiCare.

Physician groups that ranked in the 90th percentile or above in any of the measures received a “best practice” notation on the profile. In addition, “best practice” designations will be included in PacifiCare’s provider directory, which is updated three times a year, a member brochure and on PacifiCare’s Web site.

PacifiCare plans to expand the profile to Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas next year and include new measures profiling the performance of hospitals throughout its network, the company says. PacifiCare of Oregon and PacifiCare of Washington issued their first profiles last winter and plan to release their fall 2001 editions later this year.

The QUALITY INDEX is now available online at www.pacificare.com.