Purpose – In the USA, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) have pledged to control health care costs. Many patients have complained about the quality of care under the HMO regime and limits imposed on them, particularly access to care. Has quality of care been degraded under the HMO regime, resulting in an impact on patient satisfaction? There have been many studies that have compared the satisfaction of HMO patients with that of patients in the traditional fee‐for‐service payment system. The aim of this paper is to review HMO patient satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach – A review of patient satisfaction under managed care arrangements with a focus on HMOs. The article describes the US history of managed care and its effect on the satisfaction of several patient categories including the general population, vulnerable patients and the elderly. Findings – There is much information available on patient satisfaction with their insurers and most surveys indicate the lack of choice of a provider – a major source of discontent. Therefore, patient protection laws are necessary to avoid abuse. Originality/value – Patients have little ability or are not willing to rely on the information available when selecting a provider. The paper discusses patient awareness regarding satisfaction surveys and how the latter can be used when patients are seeking care.
International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2005
Keywords: Health services; Patient care; Customer satisfaction; Health insurance; United States of America
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