Spreading Ideas

Impact Newsletter - April 2012



Community Benefit Newsletter

Welcome to another edition of Impact — our chance to share some of the exciting news about Kaiser Permanente’s many community benefit initiatives to make our philosophy of total health an everyday reality for every one of our nearly 9 million members, their families, their neighbors, and their communities  our communities.

Kaiser Permanente’s growing membership got me thinking about some other numbers we’ve chalked up recently in our various efforts to help meet the health and health-related needs of our people and our communities, some of which we report on in this issue. Here are just a few:

  • As the 2011 Great Recession ground on for another year, we expended more than $1.8 billion in total Community Benefit, most of which subsidized care and coverage for low-income and vulnerable populations. We contributed close to $70 million in grants and donations to nonprofit organizations and community partners.
  • Also last year, our unique Educational Theatre Program, which operates in all our regions, celebrated its 25th year of bringing live theater productions about the value of diversity and how to make healthy life choices to school children and their families, reaching a total of more than 15 million people. Yes, that’s 15 million.
  • On January 16, nearly 7,000 Kaiser Permanente physicians and employees (including yours truly and virtually all senior leaders) took the day on, not the day off, to volunteer at a host of community-building activities in schools, food banks, free health screenings, parks, homeless shelters, and other institutions  serving the needy to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Since we began this tradition in 2005, more than 37,000 physicians and employees have participated, serving nearly 90,000 people.
  • In 2011, Kaiser Permanente launched Every Body Walk!, a public health campaign aimed at getting all adults, not just Kaiser Permanente members, to walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week for better health. The campaign offers a robust walking hub at www.everybodywalk.org with walking tips, walking trails, inspiring videos, and a presence on social media channels. There is also a free mobile app for Apple and Android devices. More than 475,000 unique visitors have visited the website and more than 17,000 have downloaded the app.
  • Since Kaiser Permanente first began addressing the specific needs of HIV patients in the early 1980s, we have treated more than 60,000 members with HIV, including a current HIV patient population of more than 20,000 more than any other health care organization in the nation. Last year, we were able to report research showing that we have achieved virtually zero disparities among black and Latino HIV-positive patients for both mortality and medication rates.
  • Thanks to the implementation of our first-of-its-kind Sustainability Scorecard, which allows us to evaluate the environmental and health effects of all of the $1 billion of medical products we purchase every year, we moved last year to replace almost five million IV tubing sets and 9.2 million IV solution bags with alternative products that are free of PVC and DEHP, two chemicals that are known toxins.
  • Our more than 40 Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) community collaboratives, up from just three six years ago, are achieving demonstrable, measureable progress in their initiatives to promote access to healthy foods and increased physical activity in underserved communities. Independent program evaluators report that the collaboratives will have launched more than 500 community change strategies, reaching more than a half million individuals when they are fully implemented.

The point of all this is not to boast, but rather to remind ourselves in these still trying times that the good, hard work we all do to promote total health — healthy minds, bodies, and spirits thriving in healthy communities — is clearly worth the effort. That’s the message of the numbers.

Yours, in good health,