Press Release 

PQA Presents Quality Awards to Eight Medicare Plan Contracts for High Achievement in Medication Quality Measures  

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

Alexandria, Va. (May 15, 2024) – The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) has recognized eight Medicare plan contracts with a PQA Laura Cranston Excellent 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 the published CMS 2024 Medicare Part D Star Ratings. This is the PQA awards’ 14th year and only 1.3% of the 605 eligible Medicare Part D plan contracts qualified for an award. 

The Excellence in Quality Award recognizes Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans and Medicare 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 measures used in the 2024 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 measures used in the 2024 CMS program. 

The Quality Improvement Award recognizes MAPDs and PDPs that received a 5-star rating on the 2024 CMS Quality Improvement measure and the greatest combined improvement in star ratings from 2023 to 2024 on the five PQA medication measures used in the CMS program during this period. 

Ensuring high-quality medication use and access remains a priority for health plans, care providers and the Medicare Part D program,” PQA Chief Executive Officer Micah Cost, PharmD, MS, CAE, said. “PQA is proud to recognize this year’s awardees for their demonstrated commitment to excellence in providing exceptional care for their Medicare members.” 

This year’s quality awards recipients, presented to the plan’s parent organization, are: 
Excellence in Quality Award – MAPDs (CMS Contract Number and Name) 

  • Sanford Health (H7511 - Great Plains Medicare Advantage) 
  • UnitedHealth Group, Inc. (H0710 - UnitedHealthcare) 
  • UNICO Services, Inc. (H3291 - PruittHealth Premier) 

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

  • Commonwealth of PA Pub Schools Retirement System (E3014 - Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System) 
  • HealthPartners, Inc. (S1822 - HealthPartners) 

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

  • BMC Health System, Inc. (H9585 - WellSense Health Plan)  
  • CVS Health Corporation (H5302 - Aetna Medicare) 

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

  • California Physicians’ Service (S2468 - Blue Shield of California) 

Five PQA-endorsed quality measures are used in the 2024 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 

The awards 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. They were announced today at the 2024 PQA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Md. 


 Contact: Rachel Cormier, Senior Manager, Communications, [email protected]