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HMOs Unique Features And Lingo

Practice Guidelines

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An HMO sets guidelines for general health practice and to treat specific health conditions. These guidelines are known as Practice Guidelines.

Practice Guidelines are supposed to set a minimal level of care which the doctors and facilities associated with the HMO agree to provide to members.

In reality, Practice Guidelines tend to become the actual standard of care instead of the minimum level. Critics of HMOs use this feature to complain that HMO care is "cookbook medicine" without regard to individual differences or unique circumstances. 

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