The other night, my better half took me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday (my 29th, in fact) [ed: riiiight!]. We only recently welcomed one of those Brazilian Steak House places to our community, and I had been looking for an excuse to gorge myself on meat. Had I been so inclined, I might have headed to Zagat, which rates restaurants on such things as quality, service, price, and value.
Now, wouldn't it be nice if such a service existed for medical providers?
Well, they do, and we've discussed some of them. Today's USAToday brings news that WellPoint (aka Blue Cross/Blue Shield) has enlisted the services of the aforementioned rating giant, in an effort to better serve their policyholders. WP seems quite pleased with itself for having pulled off this amazing coup.
So what kinds of information will we be treated to? Surely we'll learn the prices of different services, as well as the success rates of given providers, right?
Wrong (and please don't call me Shirley):
"Instead of Zagat's four categories for restaurants...the ratings guide will consider trust, communication, availability and office environment."
Office environment?! Are you kidding me? Yes, it's always nice to be greeted by a smile, but isn't the whole point of health care to provide, you know, care? What possible difference does it make how friendly the staff is, if the doc is mediocre and the equipment sencond-rate?
Granted, there has been some controversy surrounding provider ranking, but instead of confronting and resolving those issues, WP has chosen "the easy route." The good news is, the service, just now coming on-line, is free.
The bad news is, you get what you pay for.