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Good News in California

No big developments on the Federal front today, though advocacy groups are stepping up efforts to push Congress on a plan of action. I thought that some good news would be nice:

The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) recently released a set of first-in-the-nation consumer protections for those covered by HMOs. The Consumer Time Elapsed Standards will ensure timely access of care for many Californians, and those who feel they have been denied care can now report complaints to DMHC. Below are some of the new time limits:

10 business days for non-urgent primary care and mental health appointments.

15 business days for non-urgent appointments with a specialist and for lab tests, X-ray and other ancillary services.

96 hours for urgent-care appointments that require special authorization.

48 hours for urgent-care appointments with no authorization.

24-hour telephone screening or triage, seven days a week.

30-minute wait times for telephone triage.

10-minute wait times to speak with the HMO’s customer service representative.