PQA Presents Quality Awards to 16 Medicare Plan Contracts for High Achievement in Medication Quality Measures Based on CMS’ Medicare Star Ratings

Awards Honor Excellence and Improvement in Overall Star Ratings and PQA Medication Measures

Alexandria, Va. (May 13, 2021) – The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) has recognized 16 Medicare plan contracts with a Laura Cranston Excellence in Quality or Quality Improvement Award for high achievement or significant improvement in PQA measures of medication safety and appropriate use.

The awards are based on published CMS Medicare Part D Star Ratings. They were named in Cranston’s honor in 2020 in recognition of her 15 years of service as PQA’s founding CEO and contribution to medication quality. The awards were announced today at a recognition program during the online 2021 PQA Annual Meeting.

The Excellence in Quality Award recognizes Medicare Advantage Drug Plans (MAPD) and Prescription Drug Plans (PDP).  MAPDs are recognized for achieving at least a 4.5-star Part D summary rating and a 5-star rating on all five PQA medication measures used in the 2021 CMS Star Ratings program. PDPs are recognized for achieving at least a 4.5-star Part D summary rating and at least a 4-star rating on all five PQA medication measures used in the 2021 CMS program.

The Quality Improvement Award recognizes MAPDs and PDPs that received a 5-star rating on the 2021 CMS Quality Improvement measure and the greatest combined improvement in star ratings from 2020 to 2021 on the five PQA medication measures used in the CMS program during this period.

“The effective use of medications is a top issue for all care providers, and it is extremely important in the Medicare Part D program,” Micah Cost, PharmD, MS, said. “This year, PQA recognizes 16 plans for their exemplary management of medications for their Medicare members. The excellence and improvement recognized by these awards reflect the organizations’ commitment to high quality medication use strategies by the plans and their partners to care for patients.”

This year’s quality awards recipients, presented to the plan’s parent organization, are:

 Excellence in Quality Award – MAPDs (CMS Contract Number and Name)

  • Alignment Healthcare USA, LLC (H3815 - Alignment Health Plan)
  • Cigna (H5410 - Healthspring of Florida, Inc.)
  • Humana (H1019 - CarePlus Health Plans, Inc.)
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (H0524 - Kaiser Permanente, California)
  • UNICO Premier, LLC (H3291 - PruittHealth Premier)

Excellence in Quality Award – PDPs (CMS Contract Number and Name)

  • Anthem Insurance Co. & BCBSMA & BCBSRI & BCBSVT (S2893 - Blue MedicareRx)
  • Commonwealth of PA Pub Schools Retirement System (E3014 - PSERS Health Options Program)
  • Health Plan Holdings, Inc. (S0655 - Tufts Health Plan)
  • HealthPartners, Inc. (S1822 - HealthPartners)
  • Independence Health Group, Inc. (S6875 - Independence Blue Cross)
  • Independent Health Association, Inc. (S4501 - Pharmacy Benefit Dimensions PDP)
  • SSM Healthcare Corporation (S9701 - Navitus MedicareRx)
  • The Carle Foundation (S4219 - Health Alliance Medicare Prescription Plan)
  • UPMC Health System (S3389 - UPMC Health Plan)

Quality Improvement Award – MAPDs (CMS Contract Number and Name)

  • Select Founders, LLC (H1587 - Tribute Health Plans)

Quality Improvement Award – PDPs (CMS Contract Number and Name)

  • Magellan Health, Inc. (S3875 - Granite Alliance Insurance Company)

Five PQA-endorsed quality measures are used in the 2021 Medicare Part D Star Ratings program, and several others are used as Display measures. Details on these measures are available at CMS evaluates Medicare plans based on a 5-star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next. More information about Star Ratings can be found at


Pharmacy Quality Alliance:


Contact: Richard Schmitz, PQA Chief Engagement Officer, [email protected] or 703-347-7931


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