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CMS Recognizes Kaiser Permanente for Reducing Care Disparities

Kaiser Permanente has received the first CMS Health Equity Award for its efforts to reduce care disparities for Medicare beneficiaries.

CMS recognizes Kaiser Permanente for reducing care disparities

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- CMS has named Kaiser Permanente as the first recipient of the Health Equity Award, which recognizes Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to reduce care disparities for Medicare beneficiaries.

“Kaiser Permanente’s physicians are dedicated to delivering high-quality, culturally responsive and affordable care to every one of our patients,” said Michael Kanter, MD, Executive Vice President of Quality and Chief Quality Officer at The Permanente Federation.

“Eliminating disparities is complex and requires reliable systems of care that support our interdisciplinary teams.”

Kaiser Permanente is the nation’s largest integrated health system. With this Health Equity Award, CMS has specifically recognized Kaiser Permanente’s Hypertension Program Improvement Process, which has significantly reduced disparities in blood pressure control rates across racial and ethnic groups.

“From 2009 to 2017, the percentage of Kaiser Permanente’s African-American Medicare members with controlled hypertension increased from 75.3 percent to 89.6 percent, a huge increase that has improved the quality of life – and even saved the lives – of thousands of people,” said Kanter.

Key strategies employed by Kaiser Permanente to eliminate healthcare gaps include collecting and stratifying data to identify health outcome disparities, upgrading clinical practice guidelines, and expanding educational resources available to members.

The organization has also developed strong community partnerships to directly deliver care to patients in need.

“Equity is not just a word we use to describe our ideals; it is the backbone of our work and woven into every strategy and tactic we deploy to provide personal and inclusive care to all of our members,” said Patrick Courneya, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals.

“[We work] to spread those best practices across our organization so members can receive the same quality care no matter when, where or how they receive our services.”

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