San Francisco Health Plan Retains Honor as U.S. Leader in Childhood Immunizations

Friday, October 23, 2009 General News
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Local Community Health Plan Outperforms National Medicaid Plans on Key Quality Measure for Second Consecutive Year

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 22 -- San Francisco Health Plan (SFHP), the City's community health plan, today announced it is

again honored to have earned the distinction of being the U.S. leader in childhood immunizations for Medicaid health plans nationwide.  This is the second, consecutive year that the City's health plan has secured the title.  90.3% of SFHP's pediatric members are fully immunized, besting second-ranked Kaiser Permanente of Hawaii by approximately 2 full percentage points.

"We work very hard to ensure our members are fully immunized, so this achievement by our providers is wonderful to see," said Dr. Kelly Pfeifer, SFHP Medical Director.  "It's a sign that our goal of high quality care is being realized, and that our plans for ensuring the health and well-being of all San Franciscans are on target."

Strategies for achieving high childhood immunization rates include incentive programs and member outreach that encourage parents of health plan members to take their children in for all recommended vaccinations before age two.  Required immunizations consist of four diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP), three polio (IPV), one measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), three H influenza type B (HiB), three hepatitis B, one chicken pox (VZV) and four pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.

National rankings are determined by Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) results, a set of nationally recognized performance measures of health plans developed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).  Ranking high on HEDIS quality measures is a key indicator that SFHP providers are taking good care of members, and that SFHP has established an exceptional provider support system.

"SFHP invests a great deal of time and energy in the pursuit of health care excellence," said John F. Grgurina, Jr., CEO of SFHP.  "Though we create and implement the quality improvement programs, it's our provider network that carries them out.  This honor is the result of their professionalism, hard work, and dedication."    

SFHP also ranks within the top 10 percent for the following eleven Medicaid measures nationwide:

  • Appropriate Treatment for Children w/URI
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • Diabetes Eye Exams
  • Diabetes HbA1c
  • Diabetes Monitoring for Nephropathy
  • Diabetes HbA1c Poor Control
  • Diabetes LDL Good Control
  • Timeliness of Prenatal Care
  • Well-Baby Visits
  • Well-Child Visits

SFHP regularly garners national attention for serving as administrator of Healthy San Francisco, the City's celebrated, county-based universal health care access program.

About San Francisco Health Plan

San Francisco Health Plan is a licensed community health plan that provides affordable health coverage to low and moderate-income San Franciscans. San Francisco Health Plan was designed for and by the residents it serves – many of whom would not be able to otherwise obtain health care for themselves or their families. San Francisco Health Plan's mission is to provide superior, affordable health care that emphasizes prevention and promotes healthy living.  San Francisco Health Plan strives to improve the quality of life for the people of San Francisco, and is committed to supporting the providers who serve them. San Francisco is the first city in the country to offer healthcare access to uninsured residents through the Healthy San Francisco program, which is administered in partnership with San Francisco Health Plan and the San Francisco Department of Public Health. For more information on San Francisco Health Plan, visit


HEDIS (Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set) is a set of standardized performance measures designed to ensure that purchasers and consumers have the information they need to reliably compare the performance of managed health care plans. The performance measures in HEDIS are related to many significant public health issues such as cancer, heart disease, smoking, asthma and diabetes. Health Plan performance is reported publicly through consumer materials to help people choose the best health plan for their needs. HEDIS has become more than a set of measures; it is part of an integrated system to establish accountability in health care nationwide. HEDIS is sponsored, supported and maintained by National Committee for Qualify Assurance (NCQA).  For more information on HEDIS, visit

SOURCE San Francisco Health Plan


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