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PBGH Purchaser Members Take Action Over Health Net Decision To Let NCQA Accreditation Lapse

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Large Purchasers Reaffirm Support for Accreditation to Verify Quality

San Francisco, CA, October 26, 2000 – The members of the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) today announced strong support for health plan accreditation as one important step to assure quality of care by responding to Health Net's decision to let its accreditation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) lapse. Health Net is now the only major commercial health plan in California without NCQA accreditation.

PBGH and its members are taking action in a variety of ways in response to Health Net's status as an unaccredited health plan, including communicating to employees about Health Net's status and the importance of accreditation, freezing enrollment and offering additional 2001 health plan options which are NCQA accredited.

Major employers increasingly rely on NCQA accreditation as an objective way to verify health plan quality. An independent, non-profit organization, NCQA has developed a set of comprehensive tools to measure and improve the quality of health care delivered to health plan members.

"We consider this a serious issue and are freezing enrollment in Health Net," stated Bruce Smith, Health Care Team Leader for Chevron. "Our goal is to provide high quality, cost effective health care for our employees, retirees and their families," said Smith, "and accreditation is one of the main standards we use to evaluate health plans." Safeway, Stanford and APL Limited are also freezing enrollment.

"CalPERS is very concerned that Health Net no longer has NCQA accreditation, so we have highlighted their status on our website and through a special mailing to inform the more than 235,000 employees, retirees and families enrolled in Health Net. We are also working to affirm that Health Net’s quality of care is maintained while they’re seeking to regain accreditation," according to Allen Feezor, Assistant Executive Officer, Health Benefit Services, CalPERS. "Health Net is making a good faith effort to work with us to address our concerns," added Feezor. CalPERS and PBGH are developing an active monitoring plan during the interim period while Health Net seeks to be re-accredited.

"Large purchasers are strongly committed to NCQA accreditation as one tool for assuring quality," stated Peter Lee, President and CEO of PBGH. "It provides a rigorous review of a health plan’s processes and outcomes, including an onsite review and more than sixty different standards designed to evaluate the health plan’s clinical and administrative systems. This process remains one of the key quality accountability and improvement systems available. While PBGH members are concerned that Health Net allowed its accreditation to lapse," said Lee. "California’s large purchasers are pleased that Health Net has scheduled a review." Health Net, which was accredited until May 2000, has scheduled a new NCQA survey site visit for June 2001.

To underscore the importance of accreditation as a factor consumers should consider in choosing a health plan, accreditation status is also reflected in HealthScope, a consumer guide to selecting health plans, medical groups and hospitals. Available online and in brochure form, the information is provided by PBGH as a service to its members and to the 24 million consumers enrolled in HMOs across California.

Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), a major coalition of 45 large purchasers, is dedicated to value based purchasing – improving health care quality while moderating cost. Our members annually spend more than $3 billion to provide health coverage to approximately 3 million employees, retirees and their families. PBGH seeks to promote health plan and provider accountability and provide consumers with standardized, comparable data to make the best health care decisions at all levels of care. PBGH also operates PacAdvantage, a small group purchasing pool providing health insurance to more than 9,500 small employers in California, also known as the Health Insurance Plan of California.

Clark Miller
Senior Communications Manager
Pacific Business Group on Health
Telephone: (415) 615–6302
E–mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Lisa Zamosky
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Email: lzamosky@pbgh.org
Phone: 415.615.6310