About the Ratings & Data Sources

Medical Groups

The physician group data presented on CalQualityCare.org is the result of a partnership among three independent organizations dedicated to improving health care quality:

  • The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) publishes CalQualityCare.org and oversees the development and maintenance of this website. CHCF works as a catalyst to fulfill the promise of better health care for all Californians. We support ideas and innovations that improve quality, increase efficiency, and lower the costs of care. For more information, visit www.chcf.org.
  • The California Healthcare Performance Information System (CHPI) collects survey data and compiles the ratings. CHPI is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation whose mission is to serve as a trusted source of health care data to measure the quality and affordability of care, report performance ratings to and educate the public about health care value, and drive improvements in health care in California. CHPI produces ratings of California doctors and physician groups to help Californians choose health care they can trust. CHPI is a collaborative of California health care purchasers, plans, providers, and consumers. For more information, visit www.chpis.org.
  • Consumer Reports Health lends its proprietary ratings system and publishes the ratings in Consumer Reports magazine. Consumer Reports is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. In 2008, CR launched the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, which serves to educate and empower consumers to make more informed health care decisions and to help change the market. For more information, visit Consumer Reports Health.

To see the complete list of medical group ratings, download the Consumer Reports list (PDF).

Data Sources

The ratings of physician groups at CalQualityCare.org are based on data collected through the annual Patient Assessment Survey (PAS). PAS is based on a comprehensive survey developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the California Healthcare Performance Information System.

PAS is administered by the California Healthcare Performance Information System to measure the performance of physician groups, not individual doctors. PAS participating medical groups provide care to more than 90% of commercially insured HMO and POS patients in California. The current data include more than 170 groups that cared mainly for adults. Each group typically includes primary care physicians and specialists.

The ratings reported here are based on survey responses from over 52,000 adult patients across California. The survey asked about aspects of their health care experience, such as the strength of the doctor-patient relationship and access to care. These ratings show results on five measures as well as patients' overall rating of the care they received.

  • Communicating with Patients
  • Timely Care and Service
  • Helpful Office Staff
  • Coordinating Patient Care
  • Staying Healthy

As of January 2015, the ratings represent care patients received during calendar year 2013 (the survey data was collected in 2014). The survey will be updated annually.

To learn more about CHPI and PAS, visit www.chpis.org/programs/pas.aspx.

About the Ratings

CalQualityCare.org gives performance ratings to medical groups in five areas: Overall, and four Components of Care. The ratings will help users assess the quality of care available and serve as a guide when comparing and choosing care providers.

Overall Care Rating

The Overall Care Rating is the percentage of patients who rated their health care a 9 or 10 on a scale from 0 to 10. Medical groups with longer red bars are rated more favorably; those with shorter red bars are rated less favorably.

The survey asked patients: "Using any number from 0 to 10, where 0 is the worst care possible and 10 is the best care possible, what number would you use to rate all your health care from all doctors and other health providers that you have seen in the last 12 months?"

Components of Care

The medical groups also are rated on five Components of Care: communicating with patients, coordinating patient care, helpfulness of office staff, timely care and services, and staying healthy.

Each Component of Care rating is a composite score, meaning it is based on a group of survey questions.

Questions within each composite are scored as the percentage of patients who responded with the most positive response option.

For the five Components of Care, medical groups are rated on a scale of 1 to 100. The scores are then divided into four tiers, with 4 being best.

  • A score of 4 indicates that the group is in the top 10% and performed better than most.
  • A score of 3 indicates that the group is in the top half, but not in the top 10%.
  • A score of 2 indicates that the group is in the bottom half, but not the bottom 10%.
  • A score of 1 indicates that the group is in the bottom 10% and performed worse than most.

Some medical groups are missing some ratings because there were not enough data to provide statistically reliable results for them. In 2014, the four tier assignments are based on the 2013 cutpoints. The 2014 score ranges were found not to be statistically significantly different from 2013.

Why Aren't All California Physicians Represented in the Ratings?

Ratings are provided only for medical groups and not for individual physicians. This is because reliable reporting at an individual physician level requires a large number of patient surveys to be meaningful. We are researching cost-effective ways to collect surveys on individual physicians. You can help by completing any feedback forms sent to you by your health care providers.

CalQualityCare.org provides ratings for medical groups and independent practice associations (IPAs). However, not all California medical groups are rated here for a variety of reasons. (1) Medical groups must voluntarily participate in the Patient Assessment Survey (PAS). (2) If they participate, they must receive a large enough number of surveys to produce reliable results. (For groups who do not participate in the survey, you will see the message "No Ratings Available for this Medical Group.") (3) A medical group must appear in the provider directory, which means a group must hold at least one HMO contract and have more than five primary care physicians participating in the group.

Why aren't all California physicians represented in the medical group ratings? The medical group information displayed on the site includes only physicians affiliated with a medical group as determined by their employment status or contracting status with an IPA. It excludes physicians in specialties not included in the survey that provided the medical group results (such as acupuncture, behavioral health, radiology, hospitalists, urgent care).

How current is the information about physician affiliations with medical groups? Medical group rosters are constantly changing. Medical group affiliations listed on the site are current as of March 2013. This information will be updated once per year.

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