Taking the Pulse of Managed Care: Surveys Track Health Plans' Progress

To gather baseline data to monitor the progress of strategic objectives concerning chronic disease care, end-of-life care and behavioral risk factors under managed care, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) collaborated with the American Association of Health Plans on the design of its 2001 Annual Industry Survey, which the association fielded to 225 health plans.

Key Results

  • The 2001 industry survey revealed that:

    • Responding health plans offer a range of preventive screening tests and services, including mammograms, pap smears and chlamydia screening for women, and colorectal cancer screening for those age 50 and over.
    • All encourage tobacco cessation counseling including referrals to treatment programs.
    • Most plans offer programs directed at the three leading causes of premature death: tobacco use, poor diet and activity habits and alcohol use.
    • Almost all of the responding Medicaid managed care organizations offer disease management and chronic care services, particularly for asthma and diabetes.
    • Most of the plans responding to the tobacco cessation survey have strategies to address smoking in pregnancy and chronic illness, and they require practitioners to ask new patients if they smoke.

Afterward: RWJF did not fund the 2002 Annual Industry Survey because, according to vice president for research and evaluation, James R. Knickman, RWJF was no longer focused on outcomes related to health plans. Under RWJF's Addressing Tobacco in Managed Care national program, through grant ID# 041625, the American Association of Health Plans analyzed the 2002 tobacco cessation survey and is conducting additional targeted surveys.