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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hospitals, pharma outrank insurers and HMOs in service survey

With Michael Moore’s "Sicko" in the news this summer, how did health care stack up in a national survey on service?

Hospitals finished near the top, behind top-ranked supermarkets, online search engines and computer hardware companies, and pharma ranked just below airlines, according to a Harris Poll. But health insurers and managed-care plans finished in negative territory, besting only tobacco companies and the oil industry.

Managed-care and health insurance companies' rankings have kept them underwater for most of the service poll’s 10 years, but a Harris Interactive statement released with the rankings suggested Moore's documentary on health care might be a cause of this year's steep slide.

Here are how some industries scored, calculated by subtracting the percent of people who rated service badly from the percent of people who said service was good. Last year’s score is in parentheses:

Supermarkets: 84 (83)
Online search engines: 77 (67)
Computer hardware companies: 64 (64)
Hospitals: 58 (51)
Airlines: 26 (42)
Pharmaceutical companies: 21 (25)
Health insurance companies: -21 (-3)
Managed-care companies: -20 (-3)
Oil companies: -33 (-24)
Tobacco companies: -46 (-25)

The poll asked 1,010 US adults about 21 industries in a telephone survey last month. Net scores combined positive and negative opinions. For example, 78 percent of respondents thought hospitals did a good job and 20 percent said they did a bad job, yielding a score of 58 percent.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 04:05 PM
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