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CALIFORNIA | HEALTH CARE | THE STATE

California Regulators Fine 25 HMOs

May 02, 1997|(David Olmos)

Health regulators announced fines totaling $227,500 against 25 health maintenance organizations for failing to notify members about their right to register complaints through a toll-free 800 telephone number. The largest fine issued was a $40,000 penalty against CaliforniaCare Health Plans of Woodland Hills. Since January, state Department of Corporations Commissioner Keith Bishop has levied similar fines against 80 of the state's 116 HMOs. Calls to the complaint line ([800] 400-0815) have doubled since January. "The number of complaints is increasing dramatically now that the word is getting out," said Bill McDonald, the agency's enforcement chief. The state will release a report "very soon" on 1996 complaints against HMOs, although the figures will probably underreport complaints because of the plans' failure to notify consumers of the complaint line, McDonald said.

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