DENVER, Nov. 13 Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the No. 1 Medicare plan and No. 13 commercial health insurance plan in the nation according to a joint ranking by U.S. News & World Report and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
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It's the first time a health plan serving Colorado has led the entire country in quality and service. More than 700 plans were involved in the rankings.
The "America's Best Health Insurance Plans 2009-10" list appears online Nov. 12 at www.usnews.com and in print December 1.
As health care reform focuses on fragmented, costly care that lags in quality, Kaiser Permanente is drawing attention for its convenience, quality and cost. The latest U.S. News & World Report/NCQA rankings recognize that Kaiser Permanente Colorado excels in the treatment of chronic illness like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and depression. It also excels in prevention, including immunizations and early detection of cancer.
Kaiser Permanente provides both health insurance and health care. Patients who choose Kaiser Permanente doctors are cared for by a team, led by their personal physician. The 60-year-old model attracts quality doctors, with the Colorado physician group having one of the nation's greatest concentrations of board certifications - 96 percent. In addition, many members have plans that allow them to choose community physicians in primary care and a range of specialties.
The rankings spotlight benefits of quality health care:
"We were transferred to Denver in 1969 and took the opportunity to join Kaiser Permanente and haven't looked back," said Darrell and La Vonne Gretz of Lakewood, two of Kaiser Permanente Colorado's first members. "Our satisfaction has served as encouragement to relatives and friends to join the Kaiser Permanente family. We have been especially impressed with the technology. This has contributed to our good health. We also applaud the doctors and nurses who have served us over the years - they are heroes in the health field."
"While the health care debate has focused heavily on how to expand health care coverage, increasingly it is recognized that how care is delivered also matters," said Michael Chase, MD, associate medical director of Quality for Kaiser Permanente Colorado. "As affirmed by the latest rankings, Kaiser Permanente Colorado has demonstrated the ability to achieve nation leading quality performance. We have mission driven clinicians and staff working together as teams, supported by electronic health records, to improve the care of our patients. I'm proud that Kaiser Permanente Colorado is recognized by U.S. News & World Report/NCQA for delivering exceptional care and service."
"Kaiser Permanente Colorado's total approach to population health management and measurement is extremely powerful and intelligent," said Eugene C. Nelson, DSc, MPH, director Quality Administration, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and professor of Healthcare Improvement Leadership, Dartmouth Medical School. "There is much that Dartmouth, and the nation, can learn from their work."
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FACTS ABOUT THE RANKINGS
The basis for the U.S. News & World Report rankings is data collected, analyzed and converted to scores by the NCQA. The three reporting categories include consumer experience, prevention and treatment.
Kaiser Permanente Colorado has the following prevention and treatment measures in the top ten:
In addition, the following service measures were above the national average for Medicare:
ABOUT KAISER PERMANENTE COLORADO
Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state's largest nonprofit health plan, proudly working to improve the lives and health of Denver, Boulder, and Southern Colorado area residents for 40 years. Kaiser Permanente Colorado provides comprehensive health care services to more than 483,000 members through 20 medical offices and a network of affiliated hospitals and physicians. In 2008, Kaiser Permanente directed more than $50 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit kp.org/newscenter.
*America's Best Health Insurance Plans is a trademark of U.S. News & World Report.
-- Most Kaiser Permanente Colorado members can e-mail their doctor, check test results and access their medical history online. -- 74 percent of Kaiser Permanente Colorado patients have their blood pressure under control, compared with 35 percent nationwide. -- Kaiser Permanente Colorado heart attack patients have a 76 percent reduced risk of dying within 10 years of their attack, compared to other heart attack patients. -- Colon cancer screening increased by 26 percent as a result of teams using electronic registries to reach out to high-risk patients. -- The ability to quickly access primary care teams has led to improved patient outcomes, including reduced hospitalizations and ER admissions -- Doctors, clinical pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants and other team members use a variety of tools, including immediate phone consults, face to face meetings, and a secure electronic health record to coordinate care.
SOURCE Kaiser Permanente Colorado