Press Release

Gender and Patient Satisfaction in Managed Care Plans


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September 23, 2001 Washington, DC Women are the major consumers of health care services in the United states, yet, to date, little attention has been paid to how women view the quality of their health care.

In an article published in the recent edition of the journal, Women's Health Issues, this topic was addressed for the first time, looking at data collected form the 1999 Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Study (CAHPS) administered by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.  The study data represent 97,873 men and women enrolled in 206 commercial managed care plans nationwide.  The paper, written by: Carol S. Weisman, PhD and Jillian T. Henderson, MPH of the University of Michigan School of Public Health; Emily Schifrin, MS and Martha Romans of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Heath; and Carolyn M. Clancy, MD with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, investigates gender differences in satisfaction with commercial managed care plans.

What the authors discovered is that that there is little overall difference in satisfaction levels based on gender.  However, the variables associated with higher satisfaction levels differ somewhat between women and men.  In particular, women are more satisfied in not-for-profit plans then in for-profit plans, and they are more satisfied in plans with lower provider turnover rates.

The authors believe that identifying the top and bottom performing plans for women could be useful information for consumers, purchasers, and health plans.  They also believe that the current tools used for measuring the level of satisfaction may not be adequate to truly measure the level of satisfaction women have with their health care provider.

This paper concluded that it can be useful to analyze CAHPS scores by gender for quality monitoring and improvement in women's health care and managed care.  Further research that identifies the variables associated with satisfaction levels would be useful and could provide the basis for improving the quality of women's health care.

Womens Health Issues is the official publication of The Jacobs Institute of Womens Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge, practice, and understanding of womens health by making America's health care system work better for women.  For the next few years, the Jacobs Institute is placing an emphasis on managed care, heart disease and menopause cutting edge issues that affect womens health and lives. 

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NOTE: Review copies of this article are available to media from Steve Fitzer at 202/863-4989.