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Kaiser Permanente Colorado Receives Top Honor for Excellence in Medication Safety

DENVER, June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente Colorado is one of only three health plans in the nation to receive a top honor for excellence in medication safety. The award, issued by the Pharmacy Quality Alliance, recognizes Kaiser Permanente's outstanding performance on medication safety measures included in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) new 5-star rating program.  

Kaiser Permanente Colorado achieved the highest CMS rating—5-stars—on medication safety measures in two key areas, High Risk Medications and Diabetes Treatment.  In addition, the health plan achieved an overall 5-star rating from CMS for its Medicare Advantage plans. There are only three 5-Star Medicare plans nationally.*

"This award is truly unique because it uses publicly available quality data from CMS," said Laura Cranston, PQA's Executive Director. "Therefore, plans don't have to be nominated, they simply have to perform exceptionally well on transparent measures of medication safety.  Selections for this inaugural award were made by examining the performance criteria of hundreds of Medicare contracts.

"Patient safety is our top priority—it's at the center of everything we do at Kaiser Permanente. We are very honored to be recognized by the Pharmacy Quality Alliance for protecting patients and promoting optimal medication outcomes."

"It demonstrates the important role pharmacy can play in helping to improve the quality of health care," said Dennis Helling, PharmD, DSc, FCCP, FASHP , Executive Director, Pharmacy Operations & Therapeutics, Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

Kaiser Permanente Colorado has long been recognized nationally for outstanding pharmacy programs. These programs include comprehensive outpatient pharmacy services emphasizing expanded roles of pharmacists engaging patients in safe medication use. In addition, over 150 clinical pharmacists and clinical pharmacy specialists use an electronic medical record to proactively monitor medications and outreach to patients over the phone and in person. These highly trained professionals work under the direction of physicians to adjust medications as appropriate and provide education and support for drug related issues. Kaiser Permanente Colorado's clinical pharmacy programs have been proven to result in superior outcomes for patients, including:

  • 40 percent reduction of anticoagulation related adverse events.
  • 88 percent reduction in cardiovascular related deaths for patients with established cardiovascular disease.
  • 78 percent reduction in risk of death within 60 days of discharge from a skilled nursing facility.

Nationally, only two other health plans received this PQA recognition, including Kaiser Permanente Hawaii.

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 533,000 members through 21 medical offices and a network of affiliated hospitals and physicians. The health plan was named "Highest in Member Satisfaction" among Commercial Health Plans by J.D. Power and Associates for the fourth straight year. Kaiser Permanente Colorado is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. In addition, the health plan is recognized by the NCQA as the top-ranked private health plan in Colorado , No. 9 in the nation and the No. 2 Medicare plan in the U.S. In 2010, Kaiser Permanente proudly directed more than $90 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit or follow us on twitter @kpcolorado or

*Plan performance summary star ratings are assessed each year and may change from one year to the next.

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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