Objective: To assess the information needs and responses of managed care plans to the Medicare Managed Care Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Study (MMC-CAHPS).
Data sources/study setting: One hundred sixty-five representatives of Medicare managed care plans participated in focus groups or interviews in the spring of 1998, 1999, and 2000.
Study design: In 1998 focus groups were conducted with representatives of managed care plans to develop and test a print report of MMC-CAHPS results. After the reports were disseminated focus groups and interviews were conducted in 1999 and 2000 to identify perceptions, uses, and potential enhancements of the report.
Data collection/extraction methods: The study team conducted a total of 23 focus groups and 12 telephone interviews and analyzed the transcripts to identify major themes.
Principal findings: In 1998 participants identified the report content and format that best enabled them to assess their performance relative to other Medicare managed care plans. In 1999 and 2000 participants described their responses to and uses of the report. They reported comparing the MMC-CAHPS results to internal surveys and presenting the results to senior managers, market analysts, and quality-improvement teams. They also indicated that the report's usefulness would be enhanced if it were received within six months of survey completion and if additional data analysis was presented.
Conclusions: Focus group results suggest that the MMC-CAHPS report enhances awareness and knowledge of the comparative performance of Medicare managed care plans. However, participants reported needing additional analysis of survey results to target quality-improvement activities on the populations with the most reported problems.