Coordinated investments address the entire patient care experience, including accessibility and affordability.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — As Kaiser Permanente celebrates five years of operations and 40,000 members in Northern Colorado, the organization is making several multi-million dollar investments to better meet the needs of its members. These include a new digital chat function that allows members to communicate directly with a physician online and hiring more than 160 primary and specialty care physicians throughout the state.
Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to improving access and experience for its 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 members to securely interact with a physician in real-time, for questions or advice. Patients can also share photos.
This secure chat function is available to all Kaiser Permanente members including those in Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley at no copay, 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 new 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.”
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; order prescription refills by mail; and view a map of urgent care, hospitals and medical offices located near them.
In Northern Colorado, Kaiser Permanente has opened four state-of-the-art medical offices and added 80 new jobs to various local communities in just five years. Most recently, Kaiser Permanente opened its second medical offices in Fort Collins — the Spring Creek Medical Offices.
The organization has also seen rapid membership growth in Northern Colorado — growing from 5,000 members in 2012 to 40,000 members in 2017.
“Five years ago, our members asked us to expand into the vibrant and rapidly growing Northern Colorado communities,” said Roland Lyon, Kaiser Permanente Colorado president. “In just a few short years, we’ve added medical offices, developed strong relationships with area providers like Banner Health, hired more physicians and staff and engaged in many community benefit activities. We’re pleased to be a part of this community.”
Now leading the strategic growth and operations for Kaiser Permanente is Evan Hyatt. Hyatt is a veteran health care manager who brings more than 15 years of experience to the organization most recently as president of Pathways Hospice.
Hyatt, the executive director of operations for Kaiser Permanente in Northern Colorado, has replaced Jason Tacha. Tacha served in that capacity for more than four years and is now vice president of Care Delivery and Ambulatory Services for all of Kaiser Permanente Colorado.
Kaiser Permanente has made a significant investment in physician recruitment. Over the past year, more than 160 physicians from a variety of primary and specialty care backgrounds — from orthopedics and cardiology to neurology and oncology — have been hired to ensure Kaiser Permanente members are receiving the best medical treatment available in the state.
Kaiser Permanente has also hired approximately 40 behavioral health staff and specialists, including licensed clinical social workers, mental health therapists and licensed psychologists. These specialists are located in all 24 Kaiser Permanente primary care departments in Loveland, Fort Collins, Greeley, the Denver metro area, Boulder and Longmont.
“As more Coloradans choose Kaiser Permanente for their care and coverage, we, in turn, must invest in hiring top physicians and clinical staff to serve as their partners in health,” said Dr. Ferguson. “Adding behavioral health to our primary care services better equips us to address their physical and mental health needs in a truly integrated way.”
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.