The survey responses show some striking findings in regional practice variation, Santa notes. Practice groups in Northern California appear to treat their patients better than practice groups in Southern California, scoring better in each of six categories: overall rating, communication, timely care and service, coordination of care, helpfulness of office staff and health promotion.
Santa says that survey researchers are looking into possible reasons for the disparity, but believes "practice groups in Northern California have more resources and have more experience with techniques to improve patient experience."
On questions related to how well physician practices encourage their patients to engage in healthy disease prevention lifestyles, the state fared poorly.
For example, less than one-third of respondents said anyone in their doctor's office spoke with them about stress, and only one-fourth said anyone asked about depressive symptoms. One-third of respondents said their physicians did not talk with them about exercise and physical activity, and just over half said their doctor talked about health diet and eating habits.
Officials for the Medical Group Management Association, the California Medical Association, the American Medical Association, Sierra Medical Group and Hill Medical Group did not respond to requests for comment.
The full survey results may be viewed on CalQualityCare.org.
As for when the CMS Physician Compare website will carry similar data for large medical practices in the U.S., CMS officials could not say definitively, only that it will be "early in 2014."