Kaiser Permanente Health Plan Tops according to study
Kaiser Permanente Northern California is the top-ranked commercial health plan in the state - and 7th in the country -- in the 2013 ranking of more than 480 health plans in the U.S. released today by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
And among the more than 400 Medicare plans surveyed, Kaiser Permanente Northern California ranked 2nd in the nation.
The NCQA, established in 1990, is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health-care quality. Its surveys are among the most comprehensive and widely respected in the nation, and cover a wide range of clinical and service measures. Health plans are scored on dozens of measures of care covering preventive medicine, reproductive health, mental and behavioral health, management of chronic conditions, and cancer screening.
"Kaiser Permanente's focus on quality and prevention is transforming health care by keeping people healthier, introducing new settings for care, and often preventing illnesses and diseases from occurring in the first place. This approach is fundamental to our commitment to high-quality care and affordability," said Gregory A. Adams, president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals/Health Plan Inc., in Northern California. "These rankings are a tribute to the outstanding work our physicians, nurses and staff do on behalf of our members and patients each and every day."
Around the U.S., the commercial health plans of all 8 Kaiser Permanente regions finished in the top 25 out of 484 plans ranked. Among the 405 Medicare plans rated, the five highest-scoring in the country were Kaiser Permanente programs.
"Kaiser Permanente's approach to delivering care that is coordinated, personalized and technologically advanced is a model for the nation," said Robert Pearl, MD, executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group. "These rankings are much more than numbers, they represent human lives saved. Our patients in Northern California have a 30 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 10 percent lower chance of experiencing a stroke compared to those who are not members. If every American could receive this same level of clinical excellence, there would be over 100,000 fewer heart attacks and strokes each year in this country."
The 2013 NCQA health-plan rankings will be published in the Consumer Reports web edition today, and will appear in the November print edition of the magazine.
For the first time this year, a new designation called "Best Value" is being added to the rankings. The information is supplemental and does not affect overall rankings of health plans. It is based on "Relative Resource Use" data, NCQA's way of looking at care for a specific chronic condition. Because several health plans, including Kaiser Permanente Northern California, did not collect or report the data, they had no opportunity to be designated as "Best Value," which may be misleading to consumers.
Kaiser Permanente is exploring opportunities to discuss with NCQA some alternative measures reflecting value for consideration in future versions of the health plan rankings, and will continue examining the feasibility and appropriateness of collecting Relative Resource Use data in those regions that were unable to do so for the 2013 rankings.
To review the complete 2013 NCQA health-plan rankings, go to www.ncqa.org/rankings
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