Kaiser Permanente health plans highest in member satisfaction

Kaiser Permanente announced today that its members in four geographic regions rated the organization’s health plans highest in member satisfaction in the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Member Health Insurance Plan Study(SM). The regions are California, Colorado, South Atlantic (Georgia), and Virginia-Maryland-Washington D.C. (Mid-Atlantic). In a fifth region, Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest, ranked second. These five regions serve more than 8.3 million of Kaiser Permanente’s more than 8.7 million members.

“We are very pleased to once again receive high marks in J.D. Power’s member satisfaction study for health plans. The results are particularly meaningful to us, since they are a measure of member satisfaction relative to all other health plans,” said Arthur M. Southam, MD, executive vice president, Health Plan Operations for Kaiser Permanente.

“Our integrated model puts our patients and members at the center of all that we do, which enables us to better coordinate and deliver high-quality health care, and be more engaged in supporting all aspects of our members’ total health,” Dr. Southam said.

Kaiser Permanente’s integrated approach to health care delivery provides access to services in-person, online and by phone. With easy-to-use, Web-based tools, all members have access to their personal health information in their secure medical record, as well as tools to communicate with their providers. My Health Manager on kp.org gives members the ability to perform important tasks online such as scheduling appointments and ordering prescription refills. Users also have 24/7 online access to lab test results, eligibility and benefits information, and even their children’s immunization records. In addition, all Kaiser Permanente physicians routinely use an electronic health record when caring for their patients in medical offices and hospitals.

Now in its fifth year, the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Member Health Insurance Plan Study(SM) measures member satisfaction among 137 health plans in 17 regions throughout the United States by examining seven key factors that each represent a distinct part of the member experience and together encompass the relationship between the health plan and its member: coverage and benefits; provider choice; information and communication; claims processing; statements; customer service; and approval processes. The study reports on the results of nearly 34,000 members of commercial health plans, and was conducted online in December 2010 and January 2011.

Each health plan included in the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Member Health Insurance Plan Study(SM) was measured on a scale of 1,000 points. Details of the results in each of the regions where Kaiser Permanente ranked highly are outlined below:

* California Region: Kaiser Permanente earned 751 points, 57 above the average score for this region. This is the fourth year that Kaiser Permanente has ranked highest in the California region.
* Colorado Region: Kaiser Permanente earned 703 points, 21 points above the average score for this region. This is the fourth year that Kaiser Permanente has ranked highest in the Colorado region.
* South Atlantic (Georgia) Region: Kaiser Permanente earned 747 points, 47 points above the average for this region. This is the second year that Kaiser Permanente has ranked highest in the South Atlantic region.
* Virginia-Maryland-Washington D.C. (Mid-Atlantic) Region: Kaiser Permanente earned 751 points, 54 points above the average for this region. This is the third year that Kaiser Permanente has ranked highest in the Virginia-Maryland-Washington D.C. region.
* Northwest Region: Kaiser Permanente ranks second and earned 737 points, 33 points above the average in the Northwest region.
* J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Member Health Insurance Plan Study(SM) did not include Kaiser Permanente’s Hawaii or Ohio regions in its research.

Kaiser earns four stars in HMO care

Most of the state’s largest HMOs scored well in overall quality care and customer satisfaction, but even the highest scorers in the 2011 Health Care Quality Report Card had some shortfalls.

The report released Thursday [March 10, 2011] by the state Office of the Patient Advocate evaluates California’s nine largest health maintenance organizations, which serve more than 12 million enrollees and more than 225 medical groups statewide.

For a third straight year, Kaiser Permanente is the only health plan in California to earn a maximum four-star rating for overall quality of care, based on meeting national standards. Both Kaiser’s Northern California and Southern California HMOs received four stars, designating “excellent.”

“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.

“… These ratings provide further confirmation that our physicians, nurses and staff members are consistently delivering high quality care to our patients,” said Gregory Adams, president of Kaiser Permanente Health Plan/Hospitals Inc., in Northern California.

Six other HMOs received three stars, designating “good.” They are Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, CIGNA, Health Net of California, PacifiCare of California and Western Health Advantage.

Aetna Health of California Inc. received two stars, designating “fair.”

However, results were decidedly mixed in specific segments. For example, Kaiser Permanente Northern California received only one star, or “poor,” in plan service, based on member ratings compared with plans nationwide.

Aetna, in contrast, received three stars in plan service, tying Western Health Advantage for the top rating.

Seven of the nine HMOs rated poor on the report card’s “getting care easily” category. Kaiser Permanente Northern California and Western Health Advantage rated fair.

“Not all health plans provide the same quality of care on different measures,” said OPA Director Sandra Perez. “It’s imperative that health care consumers know that quality matters and, as the report card clearly shows, quality varies.”

OPA has released a report card for the past 10 years, evaluating a wide range of health care practices. It also evaluates “areas in need of improvement.”

This year, OPA noted that its previously published concerns over HMOs administrating asthma medication have been addressed: “This year’s report card shows that the performance of all HMOs prescribing the right asthma medications to control asthma in children, adolescents and adults ranges from 90 to 98 percent.”

OPA said California HMOs also “do well in testing levels of blood sugar and cholesterol among patients with diabetes.”

Thursday’s report says HMOs need to improve on a newly added segment – checking children and adults at risk for obesity and weight-related health problems.

The report card says most children (62 percent) and 45 percent of adults did not have their body mass index checked when visiting the doctor. OPA noted that the test is a simple way to gauge if a person’s weight may lead to serious health problems.

Kaiser Permanente Ranked No. 1 Health Insurance Provider in Customer Loyalty

Kaiser Permanente received the highest customer loyalty ranking in the health insurance sector, based on the Satmetrix 2011 Net Promoter® industry rankings. A new addition to this year’s benchmarks, Kaiser Permanente received a Net Promoter Score, or NPS® of 28 percent, more than 30 points higher than the industry average of negative 5 percent.

“Kaiser Permanente stood out as the leader in customer loyalty among eight health insurance providers profiled in the benchmark study,” said John Abraham, general manager of Net Promoter programs at Satmetrix. “The company’s managed care model, which combines health insurance with provision of care, set it apart from traditional health insurance companies. Customers mentioned personalized service, convenience and high-quality end-to-end health care as key reasons they would recommend the company.”

“We are very pleased to know that our focus on quality care, customer service and convenience is being recognized by consumers across the country. Kaiser Permanente has made a significant effort to put our patients and members at the center of all we do,” said Arthur M. Southam, MD, executive vice president, Health Plan Operations, for Kaiser Permanente. “Our unique integrated care delivery model, supported by ground-breaking health information technology, enables us to coordinate a member’s care efficiently and effectively.”