When’s the last time you saw your doctor? You might not remember, but chances are, your HMO does. Many Health Maintenance Organizations now track and monitor their subscribers, making sure they’re taking their drugs, eating right, and exercising. Some HMOs even call patients who don’t take care of themselves.
HMOs defend these virtual house calls as attempts to educate people and encourage them to take responsibility for their health. The goal is preventative medicine, not after-the fact operations and expensive hospital stays. Critics charge that HMOs are more interested in managing costs than managing care, and that patient privacy is at stake. Hands in the air. Step back from that Twinkie. Your HMO could be watching.
Dr. Linda Peeno M.D., former medical reviewer for Humana Inc., one of the nation’s health benefits companies
Dr. Sam Ho, Chief Medical Officer for PacifiCare Health Systems, a California HMO
Susan Pisano, Vice President of Communications for the American Association of Health Providers