DENVER — For more than a year, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected our most vulnerable populations, including seniors. Even with COVID-19 vaccination availability in Colorado, seniors may have difficulties paying for or having access to transportation options to receive their vaccination. That’s why Kaiser Permanente, Colorado’s largest nonprofit health plan, announced new support to alleviate cost and increase availability of transportation options along the Front Range for seniors receiving their COVID-19 vaccination.
“Without a ride to their vaccination appointment, some Colorado seniors may delay getting their shot. We’ve listened to feedback from our community and know more can and must be done to ensure these seniors have access to more ride options,” said Mike Ramseier, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in Colorado. “I’m pleased we’re collaborating with several transportation organizations to address the clear and urgent needs of this community.”
Kaiser Permanente is collaborating with 8 transportation service providers along the Front Range, providing $45,000 to ensure seniors with Medicare and other older adults can get a ride to receive their vaccination, without worrying about the cost of that car trip.
“Colorado senior living facilities and our state’s entire senior population have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to ensure we can get older Coloradans in need to and from their vaccination appointment safely and without fear of financial impact,” said Margaret Ferguson, MD, president and executive medical director for the Colorado Permanente Medical Group, which provides care to 600,000 Kaiser Permanente members in the state.
The support will cover the costs of transporting seniors to their scheduled vaccination appointment at eligible Kaiser Permanente locations or other eligible vaccination providers in the state including medical clinics, community vaccination sites, or retail pharmacy providers.
Kaiser Permanente is collaborating with the following transportation providers:
"Many of Via's clients use our services to get to daily medical appointments or life-saving treatments like dialysis. Now, we're bringing our neighbors to their vaccination appointments across the Denver-Boulder metro region. We're very grateful to receive this generous donation from Kaiser Permanente that will help us provide more COVID-19 vaccination transportation to those who need it most," said Frank Bruno, CEO for Via Mobility Services.
This unique support for Colorado seniors is part of Kaiser Permanente’s established commitment for improving health equity in Colorado communities — a need that has been made tragically clear by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kaiser Permanente also recently awarded $310,000 to 4 local safety net health care providers along the Front Range to help advance virtual care delivery for underserved communities in Colorado. These providers, who serve many low-income families and communities of color, have quickly adapted to provide more virtual care but remain under-resourced. It’s critical that Kaiser Permanente support safety net providers so those who benefit from their care have continued access to virtual options. The organizations receiving a portion of this grant funding include:
In addition, Kaiser Permanente provided 2 community-based organizations with $150,000 in grants for COVID-19 education outreach efforts. The grants are being used to help provide trusted information to increase confidence in vaccination among Hispanic and Latinx communities and encourage people to keep wearing masks, maintain physical distancing, and avoid gatherings.
The local organizations receiving these grants are:
Kaiser Permanente is also providing additional grants to aid in COVID-19 care equity. This work includes providing support to Colorado Community Health Network for safety net vaccination equity, and support for community nonprofits for COVID-19 education outreach efforts in Black, African American, Hispanic, and Latinx communities. Kaiser Permanente is anticipating offering additional grants supporting this work to other underserved communities in coming months.
For 75 years, Kaiser Permanente has been committed to shaping the future of health and health care — and helping our members, patients, and communities experience more healthy years. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Since July 21, 1945, Kaiser Permanente’s mission has been to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.