Kaiser offering door-to-door medical care
December 26, 2015
EDWARDS – Colorado's largest nonprofit health plan is willing to drive you to Denver, put you in a hotel, handle your medical procedure and drive you home if it's less expensive than having your work done in the mountains.
And Kaiser Permanente still won't lose money, said Brent Bowman, executive director of Kaiser Permanente's mountain service area.
"It is door-to-door service. We tested it and it works. When it's appropriate we'll provide that service," Bowman said. "The cost disparity is so great that it is financially beneficial to the organization and the patient."
Colorado Mountain Medical and Kaiser
If you want to stay home, Colorado Mountain Medical partnered with Kaiser to offer primary and specialty care services to Kaiser Permanente members starting next month.
Colorado Mountain Medical has served residents in the Vail Valley for more than 35 years, and has four regional locations: Vail, Edwards, Eagle and Basalt.
Recommended Stories For You
Colorado Mountain Medical has a network of 26 physicians, three physician assistants and one nurse practitioner. Services include internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics and OB-GYN, as well as specialty care options including nephrology, cardiology, urology, otolaryngology, and gastroenterology.
"We're excited to work alongside our colleagues at Colorado Mountain Medical to provide care for our Kaiser Permanente members in these mountain communities," said Mark Carvalho, MD, vice president of external relations and mountain expansion, Colorado Permanente Medical Group.
Electronic medical records makes cost and quality data available, enabling apples-to-apples cost and quality comparisons, Bowman said.
"People also want choice," Bowman said. "There is a cost for convenience. In the mountains that cost is much higher than it is in a dense urban environment."
Bowman cited a report that indicates up to 80 percent of Avon residents' medical care is occurring outside the mountains. In Summit County, 30-40 percent of residents get medical care in Denver, Bowman said.
"We pored over publicly recorded claims data to learn where the cost of care is different," Bowman said.
Kaiser is opening its Edwards facility next month. Kaiser Permanente is also opening a Summit County medical office in the Basecamp retail center in Frisco, and announced a partnership with Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.
Colorado now has five major health insurance providers: Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross, United Healthcare, Cigna and Humana.
70 years in the industry
Kaiser has been around for 70 years nationally. In Colorado, where Kaiser has been for 46 years — mostly metro Denver, northern and southern Colorado — it's a $3.7 billion company.
"That provides economies of scale," Bowman said.
Moving from the Front Range and into the mountains was the next obvious step, Bowman said, especially when the world learned that Summit, Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties had the nation's highest health insurance costs in 2014.
"It's a long-term play for us, a long-term commitment," Bowman said.
Kaiser Permanente members also have access to many convenient online tools, including the ability to refill prescriptions online and view lab results. Members will be able to schedule "video visits" with a provider from home through a secure web based program.
Kaiser is a 501(c)(3) and is required to invest a percentage of its profits in the community, Bowman said.
Among the local groups is EFEC, the Education Fund for Eagle County that supports local schools.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at (970) 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trending In: Regional
- Mountain Town News: Warnings abound of megafires in forests soon and in the future
- Summit Stage set to add Park County commuter bus with stops in Alma and Fairplay
- Colorado gem hunters are back near Alma mine that was once a mother lode of rhodochrosite, the official state mineral
- Discovery Channel’s ‘Gold Rush,’ ‘mining for ratings,’ faces lawsuit from Park County neighbors
- Discovery Channel’s ‘Gold Rush’ is leaving Park County, but residents continue to fight for more mining oversight
- Taft Conlin skier death lawsuit against Vail Resorts will have its day in court
- Summit County schools to close Friday as teachers join thousands at protest in Denver
- High Country Crime: Former teacher suspected of burglarizing bike shop
- As conditions ravage Imperial Challenge, Breckenridge’s Howdyshell wins, Campbell family shines
- Breckenridge Ski Resort closes 2017-18 season with Plunge (with video)