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San Diego in The News

Kaiser Permanente Medicare Health Plan Receives Highest Quality Rating For Excellence and Care Delivery

SAN DIEGO, Calif.Oct. 19, 2021 — A federal agency has given Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare health plan its highest possible rating for 2022 – 5 Stars – for providing expert medicine, seamless care and outstanding service to Medicare health plan members, including those in California.

This is the 11th consecutive year all of Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare health plans in the country have been rated 4.5 Stars or higher by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It is the first time the health care organization with 1.8 million Medicare members nationwide earned 5-star ratings for all of its Medicare health plans since 2014.

“This is a testament to our standing as one of the finest health care organizations in the country and represents the excellent care provided by our highly skilled physicians, nurses, clinicians and front-line staff in Southern California and across the nation,” noted Dr. Nancy Gin, regional medical director of Quality and Clinical Analysis at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

“We are committed to providing high-quality care for our Medicare health plan members and helping them live full, active lives,” added Dr. Gin, who also serves as the executive vice president and chief quality officer for The Permanente Federation, the national umbrella organization for the more than 23,000 physicians who provide care to Kaiser Permanente’s members nationwide.

The Star Rating system is designed to allow Medicare-eligible individuals to compare Medicare health plans based on quality and performance. In its report, CMS rated all Medicare Advantage health plans (Parts C and D) on multiple facets of care and service, including chronic conditions management, health maintenance, patient experience, customer service and pharmacy services.

This Flu Season, Getting Vaccinated is More Important Than Ever

SAN DIEGO, Calif., Sept. 8, 2021 — Getting your flu shot this year will be more important than ever, health experts advise, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Every year, physicians recommend getting vaccinated as a way to protect yourself against contracting or spreading influenza. But this year our health crisis has made this single act of preventative care especially critical at protecting yourself from a disease that plagues millions.

 

“The flu virus will weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to catching other respiratory infections, including COVID-19, and that’s why getting vaccinated this year is so important,” said Dr. Margaret Khoury, an infectious disease specialist who is Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s COVID-19 and influenza vaccination program physician lead.

 

She noted having the flu and COVID-19 at the same time would be devastating to your health. “The influenza vaccine remains the most effective prevention against contracting the flu and its complications,” Dr. Khoury explained.

 

In most years, millions of people get the flu, and hundreds of thousands of individuals end up in the emergency room or hospitalized with severe complications, said Dr. Michael Lalich, medical director and chief of staff for Kaiser Permanente San Diego.

 

“We’re preparing for a worse influenza season this year,” he noted. “Last year, we didn’t see many flu cases, possibly due to the precautions we all took and because the coronavirus crowded out the flu.”

 

Dr. Lalich said getting the flu vaccine is very important, but especially for the most sensitive populations. They include the elderly, pregnant women, children younger than five years of age, along with those with chronic health conditions, he explained.

 

When it comes to children who never received the flu vaccine before, those under age 8 will need to receive two flu shots, with a booster vaccine given 28 days after the first inoculation. Parents are strongly encouraged to vaccinate their children this year, as many children have resumed in-person learning at their schools, and will be more susceptible to being infected with the flu virus as they interact with other students and teachers.

 

“A common misconception is that a flu shot will give you the flu,” Dr. Lalich noted. “That’s simply not true. You cannot contract the flu from getting a flu shot. Side effects, when they do occur, are typically very mild. However, by not getting vaccinated, you put yourself and your loved ones at a greater risk of getting the flu, which causes serious illness, hospitalizations and thousands of deaths each year.”

 

Kaiser Permanente members are encouraged to visit kp.org/flu or call the flu hotline number at 1-866-706-6358 for information on how to safely get your free flu vaccine at Kaiser Permanente facilities across San Diego County.

Kaiser Permanente Fights Hatred Against Asian Americans – Eight Area Organizations to Receive Nearly $1 Million in Grants to Fight Violence and Racism Against People of Asian Descent Across Southern California

SAN DIEGO, Calif.July 14, 2021 — To counter the surge in discrimination and racially motivated violence against Asian Americans and people of Asian descent, eight area community based organizations will receive grants totaling $900,000 thanks to Kaiser Permanente as part of efforts to stop anti-Asian hate and violence in Southern California. The money is also earmarked to help educate, protect, support and build resilience among that community.  The Japanese American Citizen League of San Diego is among the grant recipients.

These grants are part of a Kaiser Permanente national initiative to stand with and support the Asian American community in the face of bigotry and harassment locally and across the U.S. due in part to an ill-perceived association with the COVID-19 pandemic having originated in China.

 

“We recognize the pain that many of our employees, members and communities are experiencing due to the unacceptable increase in assaults, harassment and hate crimes directed at people of Asian descent,” said John Yamamoto, vice president of Community Health and Government Relations, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “At Kaiser Permanente, we understand that health and well-being begin in communities that are just, equitable and safe. That’s why we stand firmly against all forms of social injustice, including the targeting of Asian people. We’re supporting organizations with proven records in defending the civil rights of Asian Americans and in providing support and healing to the Asian American community. ”

 

The local grants are part of Kaiser Permanente issuing $3.6 million to Washington, D.C.-based Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) to establish the Stop Anti-Asian Hate and Violence Initiative. In turn, AAJC is allocating $900,000 from that money it received from Kaiser Permanente to eight community-based organizations in Southern California over a two-year period.

 

These organizations are: Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles; Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance; Stop AAPI Hate; Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council; Pacific Asian Counseling Services; Union of Pan Asian Communities; Japanese American Citizens League San Diego; and Visual Communications.

 

As part of the national initiative, the grants received by the local organizations will, among others, be used to:

 

  1. Advance the civil and human rights of Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders through education, advocacy and community building.

 

  1. Address misinformation and xenophobia and increase reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents in the Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities through a focused media campaign.

 

  1. Strengthen infrastructure for regional community-based organizations to prevent racist crimes and incidents, intervene when they occur, and promote healing.

 

The local organizations receiving grant money were identified by Kaiser Permanente’s community health teams, as well as members of the Kaiser Permanente Asian Pacific Islander Association, an internal business resource group dedicated to workforce engagement, improvement of inclusive culture, identification and advancement of diverse leadership, and community volunteerism.

Prevention & wellness

Kaiser Permanente San Diego is here to help you stay healthy and live your best life. There are many things you can do to take an active role in your prevention plan to stay healthy and thrive through all stages of life. Here’s a few to get you started.