Covered California Physician, Hospital Directory Taken Offline

TOPIC ALERT:

On Wednesday, Covered California officials took offline a consolidated directory of doctors and hospitals affiliated with insurance policies offered through the exchange, Modern Healthcare reports.

The directory originally was scheduled to be available last week, but it was delayed and did not go online until Monday afternoon (McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 10/10).

Reasons for Removal

Officials said the list was removed from the site because of:

  • Inaccuracies; and
  • Slow loading times (Sisson, U-T San Diego, 10/10).

Roy Kennedy -- an exchange spokesperson -- said staff is working to improve the directory's:

  • Navigation paths;
  • Capacity; and
  • Search functions.

Kennedy said the directory likely will be back online next week "with improved performance."

In the meantime, the site is offering users a list of contact information for insurers participating in the exchange.

"We recognize that many consumers will base plan selection on the provider network so it's critical that it's operating efficiently," Kennedy said, adding, "We think the next version of the directory will be faster, smoother and easier to use" (Modern Healthcare, 10/10).

Other Directory Problems

Jeffrey Rideout -- senior medical adviser at Covered California -- said consumers also have reported problems identifying which plans are being serviced by popular provider groups. The directory currently only allows searches based on:

  • Doctor or hospital name; and
  • ZIP code.

Rideout said the exchange is working to more accurately label categories in the directory, but officials plan to offer a broader view of which networks are affiliated with health plans in the latter part of the open enrollment period (U-T San Diego, 10/10).

Jonathan Savell
I asked in the hospital physician dining room who knew whether they were participating in the exchange, and no one knew. How can the the exchange know who is participating if the physicians don't know. The insurers are scrambling, probably adding physician names randomly until they think they have a network. Or perhaps they are relying on a letter sent a year ago that would obligate physicians if they didn't decline. Many physicians have no intention in participating in the exchange and will yell at the insurers if they see their name on a list.
Clark Norwood
I'm glad the administrators are fixing the problems in the software, but didn't they have 3 years to plan, develop, test and implement this program? I'm sure that it is not just California that is in the soup on this. But really how much testing did they do to stress the system to see if it would perform under pressure. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg in that I am pretty sure that the powers that be have bet the farm on the best case scenarios for this whole healthcare program. If that is the case then the whole country is in for a real bumpy ride the next few years.

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