Kaiser maintains 4 stars on report card

By March 11, 2011

For the third straight year, Kaiser Permanente is the only health plan in California to earn a four-star rating — the highest possible — for overall quality of care in the Healthcare Quality Report Card from the California Office of the Patient Advocate.

The 2011 report card, online at http://www.opa.ca.gov/report_card, provides California consumers with side-by-side comparisons of the nine largest health plans in the state, ranking them on several standard-of-care measures that can have immediate and long-term implications on personal health.

“Kaiser Permanente is having a positive and often life-changing impact on the health and well-being of our members and the communities we serve — and these ratings provide further confirmation that our physicians, nurses and staff members are consistently delivering high quality care to our patients,” said Gregory A. Adams, president of Kaiser Permanente Health Plan/Hospitals Inc. in Northern California, in a news release.

“By blending our industry-leading use of advanced technology with our state-of-the-art facilities and our coordinated care model, we are improving our members’ health and their quality of life.”

This year, Kaiser Permanente in Northern California earned four stars in nine of the report card categories for clinical care, including asthma and lung care, checking for cancer, Chlamydia screening, heart care, maternity care and mental health.

Kaiser Permanente also received four stars in a category called “Getting the Right Care for Adults.” According to the OPA website, top managed care health plans “see that their members get the right care at the right time. Good care means getting treatments that are proven to work.”

Each clinical category contains specific measures of medical performance. In these measures Kaiser Permanente in Northern California advanced in several areas, including a 13 percentage-point increase in testing for lung disease, and a 10-percentage point increase in care for Attention Deficit Disorder. And in a new category this year — checking if weight may be the cause of health problems — Kaiser Permanente in Northern and Southern California topped the ratings for both adult members and for children.

“Of the 37 clinical measures in this report card, Kaiser Permanente has the top score in 29 of them,” said Dr. Robert Pearl, executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, in the news release. “We provide care that is coordinated and technologically advanced — and we are having a dramatic impact on our members’ health. We have lowered the chances of our members dying from heart disease 30 percent below the community around us, reduced mortality for patients admitted with sepsis by 50 percent, and dramatically decreased the risk of our members dying from cancer compared to the rest of the nation.”

The OPA ratings follow several other recent honors received by Kaiser Permanente:

* Kaiser Permanente Northern California was the top-ranked commercial health plan in California — and 21st in the nation — in the 2010 annual rankings by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Kaiser Permanente in Southern California was No. 2 in the state and No. 31 in the nation.

* Kaiser Permanente led the nation among all reporting commercial health plans with top marks in 12 quality measures, based on information in the 2010 National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Quality Compass Data. Those measures included breast-cancer screening, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol in diabetes patients, appropriate use of medication for asthma patients and counseling nutrition for children.

* Ten Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California were named 2010 Leapfrog Top Hospitals, an honor that rewards medical centers for success in such areas as infection rates, safety practices and measures of efficiency. Six Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern California also received the honor. The distinction placed those hospitals in the top 64 in the nation, selected from a field of nearly 1,200 facilities around the country.

Special to The Enterprise

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