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February 19, 2003

Public Disclosure of Health Plan Quality of CarePublic Disclosure of Health Plan Quality of Care

JAMA. 2003;289(7):845-847. doi:10.1001/jama.289.7.845-a

To the Editor: I agree with Dr McCormick and colleagues1 that the high dropout rate of health plans reporting HEDIS data in 1997-1998 represented a major threat to the validity of the annual reporting of HMO performance by NCQA in our Quality Compass (QC) databases and State of Managed Care Quality (SOMCQ) report. In fact, NCQA recognized the problem of high dropout in its 1998 SOMCQ report,2 and in 1999 began requiring all NCQA-accredited health plans to publicly report their HEDIS Effectiveness of Care and Consumer Assessment of Health Plans (CAHPS) data. Unfortunately, the authors only examined 1996-1998 data, which do not reflect the current reality. Based on the data available in QC 2000-2002, we believe that current NCQA reporting on HMO quality is an accurate reflection of the care given to most patients enrolled in HMOs.