DENVER — Virla Harrall fell in love with painting from an early age — the seemingly endless combinations of colors, the possibilities of a blank canvas — all that art has to offer. Harrall turned her passion for creativity into a five-decades-long career as an artist. But in 2007, her work and life were jeopardized when she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.
“When I was diagnosed, it was a challenging time,” said 75-year-old Harrall. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to do what I love anymore.”
After several rounds of chemotherapy, her cancer went into remission. The experience left her with a new outlook — her life became a blank canvas full of endless possibilities.
“Through the whole process, I stayed positive. I knew I needed to be here for my family and for Gordon, my husband. It made me appreciate every day in a different way,” said Harrall. “I’m really thankful for the care I received at Kaiser [Permanente]. My doctors and their entire team were excellent. To this day as a member of Kaiser [Permanente], I feel cared for and I feel like I have value because I’m being cared for.”
Harrall is one Kaiser Permanente Medicare Senior Advantage member who experienced first-hand the high-quality care available at Kaiser Permanente. It’s one reason Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s Medicare plan earned 5 stars — the highest overall rating for quality and service — from CMS in its 2016 Medicare star quality ratings for Medicare health plans. This is the sixth year in a row Kaiser Permanente Colorado has received the 5-star rating.
“Every day, all of us at Kaiser Permanente — from the people in our call centers and claims department to our physicians and nurses — work hard to ensure our members are getting the convenient care they need so they can live fuller, healthier lives,” said Donna Lynne, DrPH, executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc. and president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “We’re honored that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services continually recognizes our dedication to improve the care and health of our members who call Colorado home.”
CMS created the Medicare star quality rating system to provide beneficiaries a way to assess Medicare plans’ quality of care and service delivery so they can make an informed decision when choosing a plan. CMS uses the star ratings to rank Medicare plans on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 5 stars representing the highest quality. The overall scores are based on care and service quality measures (Parts C and D) across nine categories, including staying healthy, managing chronic conditions, member satisfaction, customer service and pharmacy services. The number of measures used varies by the health plan, and from year to year, but for 2016, CMS based overall scores for each plan on up to 44 unique quality and performance measures. Besides care and service quality, the star ratings also reflect health plans’ compliance performance. CMS’ methodological changes and improvements among all Medicare plans continue to raise the bar on the level of performance required to achieve 5 stars.
Kaiser Permanente Colorado has participated in the Medicare program since 1986 and currently serves 98,152 Coloradans in the Denver/Boulder, Southern Colorado and Northern Colorado service areas.
Kaiser Permanente Colorado consistently ranks among the nation’s top health plans for delivering quality care and service. Just last month, “NCQA’s Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2015-2016” listed Kaiser Permanente as having the top-rated Private and Medicare health plans in Colorado.
For Medicare beneficiaries, the advantages of a 5-star plan go beyond high-quality care and service — they also include a longer enrollment opportunity. Medicare beneficiaries may switch to a 5-star Kaiser Permanente individual Medicare plan through a CMS Special Enrollment Period from Dec. 8, 2015, to Nov. 30, 2016, without having to wait until the next annual enrollment period.
Medicare beneficiaries can learn more about the star ratings and Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare plans by calling Kaiser Permanente at 1-877-425-7892.
Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Star ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
About Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, proudly working to improve the lives and health of Colorado residents for more than 45 years. Kaiser Permanente Colorado provides comprehensive health care services to 623,000 members through 28 medical offices and a network of affiliated hospitals and physicians. For the eighth straight year, our health plan was named “Highest in Member Satisfaction” among Colorado Commercial Health Plans by J.D. Power and Associates. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognized Kaiser Permanente as the top-rated commercial and Medicare health plans in Colorado for 2015-16. In 2014, we proudly directed $109 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit kp.org/share or follow us on Twitter @kpcolorado or facebook.com/kpcolorado.