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Kaiser Permanente Health Care For Medicare, Medicaid Patients Rates In Nation's Top Ten

10/19/2005 5:12:28 PM

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente's work to ensure the health of its Medicare and Medicaid members is being recognized today by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA, at ). Kaiser Permanente's Mid-Atlantic States, Colorado, and Hawaii regions are in the NCQA's Top 10 rated Medicare and Medicaid programs in the United States.

"We're proud to be recognized by the NCQA for what we consider one of the most important measurements of our work; the quality of our preventive care," says Senior Vice President Louise Liang, M.D. Dr. Liang heads up Kaiser Permanente's national quality programs. "It's especially gratifying that the recognition comes in programs that help the elderly and disabled, groups that often suffer first when other health care organizations cut corners and costs."

NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane says of the plans in the agency's Top 10: "These health plans provide daily proof that achieving excellence isn't a question of plan type or market or profit status -- it's hard work and accountability. They provide a model for the rest of the country and the fee-for-service sector to follow."

The services measured by the Committee include important preventive care programs like immunizations, rates of screening for common diseases, and controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol. As the NCQA points out, fee-for-service medical plans don't offer data that allow consumers to evaluate whether the medical care they're receiving meets quality standards.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii garnered both of the honors, with its Medicare and Medicaid plans both in NCQA's Top 10.

"The big difference at Kaiser Permanente is that our patients don't just have a doctor, they have a team of doctors focused on their care," says Geoff Galbraith, M.D., Vice President, Hawaii Permanente Medical Group and Quality Management Improvement. "Our physicians, nurses and staff confer and collaborate so each patient has 4-5 people working together to make sure they get the care they need. The second opinion and the safety check are built into the process. At the same time, we work to support and strengthen a patient's relationship with their primary doctor."

Kaiser Permanente Colorado is recognized by the NCQA for its overall health care quality, winning a top-ten national ranking for the second year in a row this past October. "The physicians and medical teams at Kaiser Permanente are driven to provide great care," said Jack Cochran, M.D., executive medical director. "It's a winning combination when you take great physicians and partner them with excellent team members and technology such as an automated medical record."

"The NCQA's list should prove to be valuable information for consumers looking to supplement traditional Medicare," said Chris Binkley, president of Kaiser Permanente's Colorado region. "Recognition like this from the NCQA validates our commitment to provide great care to our members at every stage in life so they can thrive."

Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States (the Washington DC area) is ranked among the top five programs in the Southern Atlantic region by NCQA for its overall health care. "We're excited to see these scores because they mean our seniors are thriving. Our top quality Medicare ranking is a direct result of our doctors, nurses, and other clinicians' constant efforts to enhance our members' care," states Kay Lewis, vice president quality resource management for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc.

"At Kaiser Permanente, we provide the same focus on quality of care delivered to our members at every stage of life," states Janice Beaverson, M.D., associate medical director quality and care management for the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, whose 900 physicians provide or arrange for medical care for the 500,000 members of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States. Dr. Beaverson goes on to explain that these high Medicare quality marks are a reflection of the Kaiser Permanente total health system. "There is an incredible amount of evidence based information available for making good healthcare decisions. Our integrated delivery system allows us to analyze that information and provide it to our physicians and other practitioners, supporting the delivery of high quality care right at the frontline of practice."

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. NCQA provides health care quality information free of charge through the Web and media in order to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices.

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a not-for-profit, group practice prepayment program with headquarters in Oakland, California. Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of over 8.3 million members in 9 states and the District of Columbia. Today it encompasses Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the Permanente Medical Groups, as well as an affiliation with Group Health Cooperative based in Seattle.

Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente includes approximately 134,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and 11,000 physicians representing all specialties

Kaiser Permanente

CONTACT: Laura H. Marshall of Kaiser Permanente, +1-510-271-5826,

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