Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States has been awarded Multicultural Health Care Distinction from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for addressing racial, ethnic and linguistic disparities in health care.
This honor recognizes organizations that provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services and that reduce health care disparities.
“I am proud that eliminating racial and ethnic disparities is a natural result of how we practice medicine in Permanente,” said Bernadette Loftus, MD, associate executive director, The Permanente Medical Group, which provides care for Kaiser Permanente members in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. “Our excellent quality scores reflect our commitment to providing effective, evidence-based care to all our patients regardless of race, ethnicity or spoken language,” said Dr. Loftus. “Every physician in our practice, regardless of specialty, is responsible for population health. This integrated approach has drastically reduced disparities in care by race and ethnicity for important quality measures like cancer screenings, blood pressure control and diabetes management.”
Treatment of high blood pressure is one example of how Kaiser Permanente excels at multicultural care. According to the American Heart Association, non-Hispanic Whites typically have better controlled blood pressure than African-Americans. Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States has worked to address this disparity. At Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, blood pressure control for African Americans is within two percentage points of Kaiser Permanente’s entire population of members with hypertension and 30 percentage points better than the national average.
Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States achieved the nation’s best performance in blood pressure control for the third year in a row (90.34% vs. national average 58.71%), according to 2017 NCQA’s Quality Compass® Data for private health plans.
The Multicultural Health Care Distinction recognizes organizations that understand and address health care disparities stemming from race, ethnicity and language. To be considered for this NCQA distinction, the organization had to meet a rigid set of five crucial standards and document how the organization effectively meets the needs of its more than 700,000 diverse members. These criteria require evidence-based activities that demonstrate ongoing efforts to eliminate health disparities for members.
“As America becomes more diverse, it is more important than ever to provide excellent, culturally competent care to everyone who receives care in our medical centers,” said Kim Horn, president of Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. “We strive to remove cultural barriers and personalize medical services to our members’ preferences and needs so that they feel respected and comfortable while receiving care.”
This recognition by NCQA is the latest in a string of national honors Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States has received from the organization.
According to the newly released NCQA Quality Compass data, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States has more national No. 1 ratings and regional No. 1 ratings than any other health plan in the U.S. for measures of Effectiveness of Care. Additionally, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is rated one of the top Private/Commercial and Medicare health plans available in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia for the sixth consecutive year, according to the NCQA Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2017-2018. Kaiser Permanente has the highest rated Medicare plan in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia based on the NCQA ratings.
The organization’s commercial health plan is rated the highest in Virginia and the District of Columbia and is the only plan to receive a 4.5 rating in Maryland – making it the highest rated commercial health plan available to non-military families. Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States’ commercial and Medicare plans scored 4.5 out of the 5.0 scale in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.