FRISCO, Colo. — Kaiser Permanente Colorado, the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, is celebrating its one-year anniversary in the mountain communities of Frisco and Edwards. In its first year, Kaiser Permanente brought dozens of new jobs, grew to more than 4,000 mountain-area members, and is now offering more convenient services, including a new digital chat function that allows members to communicate directly with a physician online.
Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to improving access and experience for its mountain community members includes three parts:
Kaiser Permanente is taking its commitment to health technology to the next level by launching “Chat with a Doctor”. This online platform allows Kaiser Permanente members in the mountain communities to securely interact with a physician in real time, for questions or advice. Patients can also share photos.
This secure chat function is available at no co-pay, from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. every day. “Chat with a Doctor’s” convenient hours allow members to connect with a provider as soon as medical issues arise. Thousands of chat sessions have taken place since the service launched in November 2016.
“Our members love ‘Chat with a Doctor’,” said Margaret Ferguson, MD, president and executive medical director of the Colorado Permanente Medical Group, which provides clinical care to all Kaiser Permanente Colorado members. “Like our other virtual care offerings, ‘Chat’ is convenient and makes it easier for members to access health care on their terms. ‘Chat’ is especially convenient for our members in the mountains who may have to travel great distances to receive in-person care.”
Also in the last year, Kaiser Permanente has rolled out a comprehensive update to My Health Manager, its mobile app. Through My Health Manager, members can now schedule appointments, receive text reminders about upcoming appointments, text reminders, order prescription refills by mail, and view a map of urgent care, hospitals and medical offices located near them.
Expansion and partnerships
Kaiser Permanente opened the doors to its Frisco and Edwards medical offices in January 2016. These medical offices provide primary care, lab and medical imaging — all under one roof so members have access to a full range of health services.
Five physicians have been hired to provide care at these two medical offices. Most recently, Kaiser Permanente hired Dale Gold, MD, a family medicine physician who will see patients at both the Frisco and Edwards medical offices.
Carol Louise Venable, MD, an internal medicine physician at the Frisco Medical Offices and Shannon Garton, MD, a family medicine physician at the Edwards Medical Offices were hired in August 2016. Patricia Dietzgen, DO, a family medicine physician at the Frisco Medical Offices and Jeannine Benson, MD, an internal medicine physician at the Edwards Medical Offices, were the first two physicians hired in the mountain communities.
In addition to these local Kaiser Permanente physicians, members living in Summit and Eagle Counties have access to a number of affiliated providers.
In Summit County, Kaiser Permanente partners with Andrew Catron, MD, at the Swan Mountain Women’s Center and Christine Ebert-Santos, MD, with the Ebert Family Clinic. In Eagle County, Kaiser Permanente works with Colorado Mountain Medical and Valley View Physicians to provide additional primary and specialty care services to its members.
Hospital care for Kaiser Permanente members in the mountain communities is provided at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. This agreement provides Kaiser Permanente members with access to emergency, primary and specialty care services at Valley View.
“Kaiser Permanente decided to expand our footprint into Colorado’s mountain communities to serve as a high-quality, affordable health care option for residents,” said Roland Lyon, Kaiser Permanente Colorado president. “We’re proud of the partnerships we’ve built with local providers and to have grown so rapidly in the past year. We’re committed to our promise to continue to deliver our highest quality care to these communities.”
Kaiser Permanente provides its members living in Colorado mountain communities with unique, door-to-door transportation services to Denver-area hospitals.
For certain medical conditions and procedures, Kaiser Permanente members are referred by their physician to this service which includes:
- Roundtrip transportation to a Kaiser Permanente owned or contracted facility in Denver or Boulder.
- Opportunity for a caregiver over the age of 18 to accompany the member to the facility.
This convenient service is offered at no cost to members and is coordinated by Kaiser Permanente staff at the Frisco or Edwards Medical Offices.
“As more mountain residents choose Kaiser Permanente for their care and coverage, we, in turn, must provide comprehensive services that address all of their health needs,” said Dr. Ferguson. “This transportation service makes it easy for members to receive specialty care when they need it.”
About Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, working to improve the lives and health of all Coloradans for 48 years. We are comprised of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and the Colorado Permanente Medical Group—one of the state’s largest medical groups with more than 1,200 physicians. We provide comprehensive care for our 680,000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado members through 31 medical offices across the state—from Pueblo to Greeley and now in the mountains in Summit and Eagle counties. We are also committed to our social mission and in 2016, proudly directed more than $118 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit kp.org/share or follow us @kpcolorado or like us facebook.com/kpcolorado.