Kaiser Permanente was the only HMO to earn a top four-star rating for providing recommended care on California's annual report card , while Cigna and UnitedHealthcare led the way with three-star ratings among PPO plans.

The report issued Wednesday on California's biggest HMOs and other health insurance plans showed improvement in care for children, but mixed results for treating adults with chronic medical conditions.

These quality ratings and patient satisfaction scores focus on California's 10 largest HMOs, six biggest preferred-provider organization plans and 209 medical groups covering about 16 million consumers.

The report card is available at the Office of the Patient Advocate's website, .

State officials said health insurers and physicians are making strides in giving children their immunizations, checking them for excess body fat and avoiding the overuse of antibiotics for throat infections.

But the quality of treatment for patients suffering from diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions varied widely among insurers and physician groups, according to the state.

Many HMO patients expressed frustration at "getting care easily." On that measure, seven HMOs including Kaiser's Southern California system were rated poor, or just one star.

Consumers can also use the report card to check physician groups by name or county.

Kaiser medical groups also earned high marks locally, with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group -- Kern County receiving four stars for providing the recommended care.

-- The Los Angeles Times, The Californian

Children age 17 and younger can get in free to an autistic-friendly movie showing next week.

The film, "The Croods" will be shown at 11 a.m. April 6 at Hitching Post Theaters in Tehachapi with special accommodations made for children with autism and other disorders, according to a news release. The event is also being hosted by Multilevel Applications and Positive Support Services, also known as MAPSS.

Cost is $3 for adults. Children 13 years old and younger must attend with an adult. The theater is located at 201 S. Green St. Call 397-4777 for information.

The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy will host a senior walk in April.

The third annual walk is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 12 in the parking lot at 5601 Auburn St., according to a pharmacy news release. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and a light lunch will be held at 12:30 p.m. The pharmacy will donate $2 to the East Niles Senior Center for every round of the parking lot completed, with a limit of three rounds per person.

Vendors can set up in the parking lot for a fee during the event. Contact Gita Doshi at 871-8881 for information.