Kaiser Permanente Share » Regions » National http://share.kaiserpermanente.org News, Views and Moves from Kaiser Permanente Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:05:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Kaiser Permanente Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-celebrates-national-disability-employment-awareness-month/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-celebrates-national-disability-employment-awareness-month/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:01:41 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11655 October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Kaiser Permanente is proud to support this important event. The organization encourages every employee to show his or her support in raising awareness about disability employment issues and celebrating the many and varied contributions persons with disabilities bring to the workplace and the greater community.

This year’s theme, “Expect. Employ. Empower.” rings true for Kaiser Permanente. We realize that although many persons with disabilities are prepared, willing and able to work, they constitute a largely untapped talent pool. As a result, they remain out of the labor force at a much higher rate than those reporting no disabilities. There is a clear need for transformational action and Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to creating a culture of support for persons with disabilities among our workforce, members, patients and the communities we serve.

The roots of National Disability Employment Awareness Month go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.” Upon its establishment in 2001, the Office of Disability Employment Policy assumed responsibility for the awareness month and has worked to expand its reach and scope.

We all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-celebrates-national-disability-employment-awareness-month/feed/ 0
Kaiser Permanente’s California Health Plans Rated Highest for Quality for Seventh Consecutive Year http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanentes-california-health-plans-rated-highest-for-quality-for-seventh-consecutive-year/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanentes-california-health-plans-rated-highest-for-quality-for-seventh-consecutive-year/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:15:33 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11650 OAKLAND, Calif. — One of California’s most respected health care rating systems — the Office of the Patient Advocate — this week recognized Kaiser Permanente’s health plans as having the highest quality in the state for the seventh consecutive year.

The California OPA ratings showed that Kaiser Permanente Northern California and Kaiser Permanente Southern California are the only health plans in California to earn a four-star rating — the highest possible — for overall quality of care in the OPA’s annual Healthcare Quality Report Card.

The annual report card by the Office of the Patient Advocate provides California consumers with side-by-side comparisons of the largest health plans in the state, ranking them on several national “quality of care” and “member care experience” measures. Clinical measures include cancer screenings, diabetes care, heart care, hypertension treatment, maternity care and other quality-of-care measures. No other health plan received the top rating for overall clinical care measures.

The 2014 OPA ratings follow several other recent honors received by Kaiser Permanente Northern California and Southern California health plans and hospitals:

  • Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare plans in California received a 5-star rating for 2015, the only health plan in the state to get the top rating, and one of only 11 plans in the nation to get a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Approximately 400 plans were rated nationwide, and 2015 was the fourth straight year that Kaiser Permanente in California received 5 stars.
  • Kaiser Permanente commercial health plans in Northern California and Southern California were ranked in the top 10 among more than 500 in the nation, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s 2014 survey of health plans.
  • Nineteen Kaiser Permanente hospitals in California were named Top Hospitals in 2013 by the Leapfrog Group. Only 55 urban hospitals in the nation — of more than 1,100 surveyed — received this honor.
  • Thirty-five Kaiser Permanente hospitals in California received “A” grades in the Leapfrog Group’s 2014 Safety Scores.
  • Kaiser Permanente members rated the organization’s health plan highest in member satisfaction in California for the seventh consecutive year in the 2014 U.S. Member Health Plan study by J.D. Power and Associates.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 9.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal 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. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanentes-california-health-plans-rated-highest-for-quality-for-seventh-consecutive-year/feed/ 0
Kaiser Permanente Northern California Bargaining Updates http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-northern-california-bargaining-updates/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-northern-california-bargaining-updates/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:00:02 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=10791 Kaiser Permanente is currently involved in contract bargaining with the California Nurses Association. We will regularly add updates to this page with additional information throughout the bargaining process.

Kaiser Permanente has a long and productive relationship with organized labor. But we know actions speak louder than words, and that’s why we are proud to employ more union workers than any other health care organization in the country. In fact, nearly two-thirds of our workforce is made up of union-represented employees. Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest employers in all of California, with more than 60,000 employees in Northern California alone. We employ roughly 16,000 nurses throughout Northern California and more than 48,000 nurses throughout the country.

Detail of infographic - health care transformation, committed to quality

How Kaiser Permanente is transforming care.
Download .pdf »

We believe the bargaining table should be a place of mutual respect and we are prepared to listen carefully and respond respectfully to the union’s bargaining team, and as always, bargain in good faith to reach agreement. At Kaiser Permanente, we believe that bargaining should consider both the needs of our employees, and what will best help our organization meet the needs of our members and patients.

Bargaining updates are posted below:

Bargaining update from October 16, 2014:

Today, Kaiser Permanente responded to CNA’s revised proposal related to Ebola preparedness. We understand our nurses’ — and all our employees’ — concerns that we stay safe should we be called upon to treat a patient diagnosed with this disease. We offered to meet as a small work group to discuss and resolve our mutual concerns regarding this vitally important issue. We await the union’s response.

We are well prepared to safely screen and treat for Ebola

Kaiser Permanente is committed to ensuring that any and all patients we admit for treatment of Ebola virus disease get the best care possible, using reliable clinical evidence and safety approaches.

We have implemented extensive protocols, training and simulations to ensure our staff is prepared to screen all incoming patients, and our care teams are prepared to treat any patient who may be diagnosed with Ebola virus disease, with the safety of all our employees and members being of our utmost concern.

Today in bargaining

In today’s session, CNA refused to bargain over 36 proposals they themselves have put on the table, demanding that we first make a wage and benefit proposal. We explained once again that we believe negotiations will move more expeditiously if we focus first on the issues already on the table before moving to wages, benefits and other issues. And, as we have stated in the past, the union is also free to bring economic or any other proposals it would like, at any time.

CNA has not yet committed to another bargaining session. We told CNA that we are anxious to continue bargaining and are available tomorrow, this weekend, and every day next week to meet.

Bargaining update from October 14, 2014:

Today was the 16th bargaining session between Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association (CNA). We made progress on a number of the 37 remaining noneconomic proposals the union brought to the table. Despite this incremental progress, however, much work remains to be done on these proposals.

The union has pushed for a date by which Kaiser Permanente will provide proposals on wages and benefits, and has accused Kaiser Permanente of delaying — which could not be further from the truth. We have bargained in good faith, responded to each union proposal, and continue to work diligently in an effort to gain more tentative agreements.

Typically during contract bargaining at Kaiser Permanente and other organizations, the union and management have agreed to bargain noneconomic proposals to resolution before bargaining economic proposals. This approach allows proper attention to be paid to proposals having to do with our nurses’ working conditions — issues that are important to keeping Kaiser Permanente the best place for nurses to practice their profession and calling. With this in mind, we made the same agreement with the union when we started bargaining. We have repeatedly told the union that we would be able to present wage and benefit proposals on Oct. 16 — IF we were able to show significant progress on the proposals already on the table.

Given the number of proposals that remain open, it is unlikely that we will be able to start discussion on economic proposals this coming Thursday. The union is, of course, free to make wage and benefit, or any other proposal it likes. We believe, however, that the most expeditious way to reach overall agreement on a collective bargaining agreement is to narrow the issues already on the table before taking on new issues.

Today in bargaining

 In today’s session, there was discussion about the following:

  • Long term leaves of absence: Discussion from both parties concerns minimum qualifications required for nurses who have been on long-term leave to be able to bid on posted positions.
  • GRASP®: Kaiser Permanente made a counterproposal regarding the number of GRASP® educators in the region, and guidelines for their work, geared toward advancing Kaiser Permanente nurses’ knowledge of the GRASP® patient acuity system.
  • Resource nurses: CNA gave a presentation regarding the need to have additional nurses on standby, without patient care assignments, to provide assistance as needed.
  • Educational expense reimbursement: The union provided a counterproposal that included examples of additional materials and mobile apps they propose be covered under Kaiser Permanente’s tuition reimbursement policy, as well as related travel expenses.
  • RN Response Network: Kaiser Permanente presented a counterproposal that agreed to the union’s request for 25 nurses regionwide being granted unpaid leave in the event of disasters, to participate in the union’s emergency response program.

Our next scheduled bargaining session is Thursday, Oct. 16.

Bargaining update from October 9, 2014:

Today was the 15th bargaining session between Kaiser Permanente and California Nurses Association (CNA).

To date, the union has presented Kaiser Permanente with 39 proposals, to which we have responded. We are waiting for CNA to consider the counterproposals we have made and further respond. Today the union ended the session at about 12:15 p.m., after discussing only a few items.

As we’ve said before, CNA has asked that we present our “economic” proposals, but the union is not bargaining actively over the many proposals it has already placed on the table. We have urged CNA to work through these proposals, some of which have clear economic impacts, with a greater sense of urgency. To keep things moving, we have repeatedly summarized for the union what is still outstanding. We have asked if additional information is needed in order for them to respond to our counterproposals. We have offered to meet additional days, but the union has said they are not available next Monday or Wednesday. And to be clear, the union is free to bring its own “economic” proposals to the table, as it already has done. The union’s suggestion that Kaiser Permanente is stalling, as we have heard, is simply untrue.

Today in bargaining

Today, there was discussion about the following:

  • GRASP Regional Education Committee — The union made a counterproposal around the number of inter-rater reliability audits conducted.
  • Nurse Practitioners — CNA gave a presentation on nurse practitioners. We explained the process used to determine Nurse Practitioner staffing needs.
  • Educational Expense Reimbursement — The union will be providing more specific examples of reference materials they propose be covered outside of the current policy.
  • Proposed language in the contract about appropriate use of sick leave.
  • Updating side letters and appendices.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Bargaining update from October 8, 2014:

Kaiser Permanente and California Nurses Association (CNA) engaged in productive discussion on multiple proposals on the table yesterday and today.

What happened in today’s negotiations

So far this week, we have given the union our responses or counterproposals on topics including:

  • Training opportunities for our nurses
  • Donations by nurses to the union’s RN Response Network
  • GRASP® use, GRASP® Educators and GRASP® committee participation (GRASP® is an acronym for Grace Reynolds Application and Study of PETO [Poland, English, Thornton and Owens] )
  • Professional Performance Committee membership clarification
  • The inclusion of state regulations on safe patient handling in the text of the Collective Bargaining Agreement
  • Appropriate engagement of traveler nurses
  • Re-entry protocols for nurses who have been on extended leaves of absence

We have received tentative agreements from the union on only two of the 39 operational proposals we have addressed. These proposals focus on key aspects of nurses’ working lives, and it is important that we resolve as many of them as possible before moving our attention to the economic proposals.

We await responses from CNA on those proposals that remain open for negotiation. The next bargaining session is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 9.

Bargaining update from October 1, 2014:

Progress Made in Today’s Negotiations
Kaiser Permanente and California Nurses Association (CNA) signed two tentative agreements and engaged in productive discussion about proposals on the table today.

What happened in today’s negotiations

  1. Tentative agreements
    • Kaiser Permanente and CNA tentatively agreed that nurses will be able to access BRN-approved courses that provide continuing education or continuing medical education units during non-scheduled work time without pre-approval from managers. Educational leave for employees on any leave of absence would require management pre-approval. We also tentatively agreed to add one quality liaison.
  2. Kaiser Permanente gave the union responses to seven operational proposals.
    • Included was a response to the union’s concerns about Kaiser Permanente’s level of preparedness in the event we receive patients suspected of being infected with Ebola virus. We assured the union that Kaiser Permanente has comprehensive plans and procedures in place for such events and that we continue to develop a proactive approach.

Kaiser Permanente’s bargaining team is eager to complete bargaining on operational proposals. This would pave the way to begin discussing economic proposals on Oct. 16. CNA’s bargaining committee requested that we cancel tomorrow’s bargaining session so that the union bargaining team can caucus.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 7.

Bargaining update from September 30, 2014:

Today was the 11th meeting between Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association (CNA). Kaiser Permanente and CNA mutually agreed to extend the current collective bargaining agreement to Friday, Oct. 24, in order to provide more time for negotiations.

What happened in today’s negotiations
Today, CNA’s bargaining team expressed a desire to begin negotiating economic proposals. We told them we would make economic proposals on Oct. 16, provided that sufficient progress has been made on the operational proposals that are currently on the table.

We are waiting for CNA to respond to 20 pending counterproposals that Kaiser Permanente made at the table Sept. 17 and 18 in response to CNA’s proposals on operational issues — including our counterproposals on specialty training for nurses, break and relief timing and nurses’ participation in reviewing new technology. CNA has not yet responded to our counterproposals, and instead brought seven items to bargaining today that added to their existing operational proposals. Kaiser Permanente’s bargaining team is considering these additions.

In response to CNA’s information requests, we have furnished extensive materials and will continue to do so, as appropriate.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Bargaining update from September 18, 2014:

Today was the 10th meeting between Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association (CNA). Negotiations continued to be respectful and productive, as Kaiser Permanente presented proposed solutions that we believe will resolve the challenges described in the union’s proposals, while supporting Kaiser Permanente’s ability to deliver on its mission of delivering high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve.

Report from today’s negotiations
As of today, we have responded to all 38 of CNA’s current proposals. We await 20 responses from the union.

Educational leave
Today, we presented a counterproposal regarding educational leave. We share a mutual interest in ensuring our nurses can swiftly access BRN-approved courses that provide continuing education or continuing medical education units during non-scheduled work time.

Optimal break/meal timing
We also presented two letters of intent, to answer seven union proposals. We share a mutual interest in avoiding scheduling nurses to take breaks in the first or last hour of their shifts — these are important times in which our nurses assess their patients and exchange information on patient care with nurses coming in to work the next shifts. Kaiser Permanente presented its plan to solve this issue without needing to hire additional nurses, but instead by facilitating movement of staff nurses to achieve and maintain balanced staffing levels in each medical center, unit and shift.

Training nurses in new specialties
We presented a letter that details our commitment to creating a nurse fellowship program that will allow us to post and fill training positions, to ensure that into the future we will have nurses where our patients need them and that our nurses have the opportunity to enhance their professional practice.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Bargaining update from September 17, 2014:

Today was the ninth meeting between Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association. Negotiations continued to be respectful and productive.

Report from today’s negotiations
To date, we have presented 11 counter proposals to CNA. Today, the union responded to one regarding education leave approval. Kaiser Permanente is reviewing the union’s counter proposal.

Kaiser Permanente gave a counter proposal regarding CNA’s RN Response Network (RNRN), a charitable organization that organizes and supports disaster relief. The union is reviewing our counter proposal. We share a mutual interest in supporting nurses who wish to help care for those affected by disasters. If agreed upon, Kaiser Permanente will:

  • Add RNRN as an option for charitable donations listed in the collective bargaining agreement.
  • Grant up to 30 days unpaid leave for up to 15 nurses region-wide during each event requiring emergency response.
  • Allow nurses to use accrued vacation time when responding to disasters where relief efforts are not sponsored by Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente and CNA share a commitment to protect nurses from workplace injuries. We described this today in a presentation response to the union’s proposals for lift teams. We presented detailed information about our Patient Mobilization Safety Program and reinforced our invitation for nurses to participate in Regional Workplace Safety Steering Committee meetings.

Additional bargaining dates
The union gave eight dates on which it will be available for bargaining from Sept. 30 to Oct. 16. The union agreed to consider another contract extension as the Sept. 30 expiration date nears.

Bargaining update from September 10, 2014:

Sept. 10 was the seventh meeting between Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association (CNA). The process of negotiations continued at a steady rate, reflecting the extensive work being done in a short amount of time to prepare responses to the union’s proposals. We want to acknowledge the time and efforts of the bargaining team and the many Kaiser Permanente professionals supporting bargaining, in addition to their regular duties.

Report from bargaining
Today, CNA gave verbal responses and requested clarification about counter-proposals Kaiser Permanente gave the union last week, in which Kaiser Permanente:

  • Announced an increase in our tuition reimbursement policy.
  • Proposed to extend reimbursement for continuing education units.
  • Proposed an increase in quality committee nurse practitioner representatives.
  • Proposed uninterrupted time for completion of legally required compliance training.

Kaiser Permanente then presented responses to five previous union proposals, some of which involved multiple elements, including:

  • A Kaiser Permanente counter-proposal with enhanced nurse residency training programs for needed specialties based upon business needs.
  • Our mutual interest in supporting nurses who want to volunteer to provide disaster relief, including facilitating leave requests for a mutually agreed upon number of nurses, and Kaiser Permanente’s existing policy to consider paying travel expenses on a case-by-case basis.
  • Reiterating that we value our nurses’ professional judgment along with the judgment of our managers — and that the contract already provides for this judgment to prevail concerning the complexity of a home health patient’s condition — by allowing extra time for consultation as well as a process to ensure safe staffing predictions in home health care.

Follow-up to last week’s bargaining
After last week’s bargaining, CNA published an alert that incorrectly described Kaiser Permanente’s proposal for a voluntary program for call center nurses to work remotely. The union incorrectly characterized our proposal as an attempt to “outsource” work. Our proposal is intended to respond to what we have heard from nurses about their desire to work from home, as well as for Kaiser Permanente to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Also following last week’s session, CNA prompted an article in a labor-friendly local publication with untrue allegations about staffing and equipment at the Oakland Medical Center, reflecting CNA’s recent statements resisting the use of technology in health care. The allegations made in the article are unfounded. We use appropriate technology as an adjunct for our care teams because it benefits our patients and leads to better, more reliable and consistent patient outcomes.

Bargaining update from September 4, 2014:

To date, Kaiser Permanente has met six times with the California Nurses Association, receiving 38 proposals from the union as of last week. On Sept. 4, in respectful and productive negotiations, we presented nine written responses — eight counter proposals and one letter of understanding. In addition, we engaged in positive discussion about union proposals we have not yet responded to in writing. Over the next several days, Kaiser Permanente’s bargaining team will send additional counterproposals for the union’s consideration. The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 10, and Thursday, Sept. 11.

Bargaining update from August 28, 2014:

Today, Kaiser Permanente met with the California Nurses Association (CNA) to continue negotiations. To date, the union has presented 38 proposals. Our bargaining team has responded to 15 of these, and is working diligently on responses for those that remain. We are identifying areas of mutual interest and look forward to discussing these with CNA.

In today’s negotiations, CNA gave two stirring presentations — one on violence against care team members in the workplace, and another on the union’s RN Relief Network (RNRN), which provides nurses in rapid response to natural disasters in the United States and abroad. We told the union that we agree in principle with the need to support our nurses in these vital efforts, and that we will develop a response to CNA’s RNRN proposal that builds on Kaiser Permanente’s existing policies. In addition, we let the union know that we have mutual interest in finding agreement about the union’s proposal related to workplace violence, to support our nurses’ well-being.

In bargaining this week, Kaiser Permanente and CNA mutually agreed to extend the current collective bargaining agreement to Sept. 30, 2014, in order to provide additional time for negotiations. This means that all of the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, including the no-strike provision, will remain in effect through Sept. 30.

By mutual agreement, negotiations will continue on Thursday, Sept. 4.

Bargaining update from August 20, 2014:

In the first day of bargaining last week, Kaiser Permanente management’s bargaining team presented an overview of the changing health care environment and what we need to do today in quality, service and affordability, so we can be sure that the organization will be here in the future to provide high quality, affordable health care for generations to come. The Kaiser Permanente team also was proud to use the opportunity to acknowledge how our nurses are influencing and transforming health care, for the good of our patients and the nursing profession. And we stated our unwavering commitment to keeping Kaiser Permanente the pre-eminent place for nurses to work in health care.

In our presentation we shared with the union bargaining team, and the assembled nurses, the principles that will guide us through bargaining.

We will:

Ensure that Kaiser Permanente continues to be the best place for nurses to work
This includes continuing to provide competitive wages and benefits, a safe workplace, the right resources and technology, and providing for a secure retirement.

Do the right thing for our patients
Our members and patients are at the center of everything we do. As health care transforms, we have a responsibility to change as well, for the benefit of our patients, our members and our communities.

Make health care more affordable for our members and others in the community
We believe that the cost of health care in this nation has reached a level that is unsustainable and out of reach for most people, and we are committed to lead the effort to change this.

Lead the way in quality, value and affordability
Every one of us in health care has a choice – either seize the opportunity to be an architect of change, or choose to wait and see what others do and hope for the best. We choose to lead.

Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association (CNA) met again on August 20 for contract negotiations, during which the union shared 11 proposals. Dialogue was productive and respectful. Negotiations will continue on August 21, and are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week, as well.

Bargaining update from August 7, 2014:

Statement by Gay Westfall, senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Northern California

Oakland, Calif., August 7, 2014 – Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association (CNA) were scheduled to start on July 31. The current bargaining agreement is set to expire on Aug. 31.

Initiating negotiations has been problematic due to issues we are trying to resolve, including agreement on a neutral site for bargaining as well as basic ground rules for how the proceedings will be conducted.

For bargaining to be productive, it is important that it take place in a neutral location and with ground rules that foster reasonable discussion. We asked a federal mediator to assist us in coming to agreement on some simple yet important principles before negotiations begin, for example, that each party be given the opportunity to present and explain proposals without interruption, and be assured that the parties will conduct themselves professionally and not be disruptive during the bargaining proceedings.

We were in discussions with the union through late last night and early this morning, but were unable to resolve the outstanding issues. As a result, we notified CNA that we would not be bargaining today.

Meanwhile, today, there were approximately 200 union members rallying at our downtown Oakland offices to divert attention from negotiations. We are concerned about this disruptive behavior at the outset of what are important negotiations for our nurses and the organization.

We care deeply for our nurses and for what they do every day for our patients. We take seriously our commitment to keeping Kaiser Permanente the preeminent place for our nurses to practice their profession and calling.

Kaiser Permanente is ready to come to the bargaining table, confident that we can reach a mutually beneficial agreement and look forward to a meaningful dialogue and an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Bargaining update from July 31, 2014:

Statement by Gay Westfall, senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Northern California:

Oakland, Calif., July 31, 2014 – Today was supposed to mark the opening of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association. The current agreement is set to expire on Aug. 31, 2014.

Both parties agreed to meet on July 31. For the benefit of both, we believe it is best that bargaining take place in a neutral location. We have been in discussions for a number of weeks on this topic and proposed multiple sites. In an effort to facilitate an agreement, we secured a neutral location, and invited the union to meet us there. We said we would be there ready to bargain and we were. The nurses’ union refused to meet us there, or at any other neutral site, to bargain. Instead, the union continued to insist that today’s session had to be at its own headquarters. We are disappointed that the union used this approach at the outset of what are important negotiations for our nurses and the organization.

Kaiser Permanente is ready to come to the bargaining table, confident that we can reach a mutually beneficial agreement, and look forward to a meaningful dialogue and an atmosphere of mutual respect. We care deeply for our nurses and for what they do every day for our patients.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-northern-california-bargaining-updates/feed/ 0
Week 1 in Freetown, Sierra Leone – Dispatch From Hernando Garzon, MD http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/week-1-in-freetown-sierra-leone-dispatch-from-hernando-garzon-md/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/week-1-in-freetown-sierra-leone-dispatch-from-hernando-garzon-md/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 03:23:31 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_link&p=11645 Hernando Garzon, MD, is director of Kaiser Permanente Emergency Management in Northern California, and medical director for Emergency Medical Services in Sacramento County. He has accepted a relief mission on behalf of the International Medical Corps, which has launched Ebola treatment facilities in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/week-1-in-freetown-sierra-leone-dispatch-from-hernando-garzon-md/feed/ 0
Kaiser Permanente Names Julie Miller-Phipps President of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-names-julie-miller-phipps-president-of-kaiser-foundation-health-plan-of-georgia/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-names-julie-miller-phipps-president-of-kaiser-foundation-health-plan-of-georgia/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:30:22 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11641 OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente today announced that Julie Miller-Phipps has been named president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia.

Miller-Phipps has been with Kaiser Permanente for more than 30 years and has a track record of demonstrated success throughout her career. She has served most recently as the senior vice president and executive director of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan in Orange County, Calif., leading a service area that has 23 medical offices and serves more than 480,000 members.

During her tenure in Orange County, Miller-Phipps worked in close collaboration with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group to lead a high-performing team of 750 physicians and 6,000 employees who successfully opened two new hospitals, consistently delivered high-quality care and service, and experienced a significant growth in membership.

Previously, Miller-Phipps served in several other leadership roles at Kaiser Permanente, including director of Hospital Operations, Continuing Care leader and assistant hospital administrator.

In addition to appointing Miller-Phipps to her new role, Kaiser Permanente announced that it will align the Southern California region with the Georgia region, using a proven Kaiser Permanente practice in which a larger region helps enhance and accelerate a smaller region’s development and performance.

“Kaiser Permanente is recognized as a model for the future of health care in this country, and we are committed to creating the best health experiences and outcomes for each of the 9.5 million members we serve,” said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente.  “With Julie’s leadership and the dedication of our employees and physicians — in Georgia and throughout the organization — we will continue to enhance the high-quality, 21st century health care experience we provide to the people of Georgia.”

Miller-Phipps steps into this role as Kaiser Permanente is reinforcing its commitment to deliver care and coverage to more people, customers and communities in Georgia. She succeeds Kerry W. Kohnen, who has served as president of the Georgia region since 2011 and is retiring after a nearly 40-year career with Kaiser Permanente.

“Kaiser Permanente is widely recognized as a leader in quality and prevention,” Miller-Phipps said. “Through our investments in our people, technology and innovation, we will continue to build on the success we have had in Georgia and continue to be a model for delivering high-quality and affordable health care.”

Kaiser Permanente Georgia was recently recognized as one of the top 20 commercial health plans in the country according to this year’s National Committee for Quality Assurance rankings of more than 500 health plans. It has also been the highest rated health plan in the state for 10 consecutive years by NCQA.

Additionally, all seven Kaiser Permanente Medicare health plans, including Georgia, are ranked in the top 10 out of more than 408 Medicare plans rated by NCQA.

About Kaiser Permanente Georgia
Kaiser Permanente is Georgia’s largest not-for-profit health plan. Its mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of its members and the communities it serves. Kaiser Permanente serves more than 260,000 members in a 28-county service area in metro-Atlanta and four counties in Athens with care focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of heath care providers. Expert and caring medical teams are supported by industry-leading technology and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art delivery and world-class chronic disease management.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 9.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal 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. For more information, go to kp.org/share. 

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-names-julie-miller-phipps-president-of-kaiser-foundation-health-plan-of-georgia/feed/ 0
‘Proud to Be Kaiser Permanente’ Shows How Organization is the Future of Health Care http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/proud-to-be-kaiser-permanente-shows-how-organization-is-the-future-of-health-care/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/proud-to-be-kaiser-permanente-shows-how-organization-is-the-future-of-health-care/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:46:24 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_link&p=11618 In “Proud to Be Kaiser Permanente,” employees and physicians talk about what makes Kaiser Permanente a great place to receive care and to work.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/proud-to-be-kaiser-permanente-shows-how-organization-is-the-future-of-health-care/feed/ 0
Winston Wong, MD, Honored by California Primary Care Association http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanentes-winston-wong-md-honored-by-california-primary-care-association/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanentes-winston-wong-md-honored-by-california-primary-care-association/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:58:12 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11619 By Laura Saponara, Community Benefit Communications

The California Primary Care Association has honored Winston Wong, MD, medical director for Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, for his commitment to health care access for all.

The CPCA presented Wong with a Hero Award on Oct. 9 at its annual conference, which brings together more than 700 health care professionals and advocates who specialize in addressing health care concerns facing California’s uninsured, low-income and minority populations.

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman and former CPCA administrator Carole Loeb, honored in memoriam, also received awards.

At Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Wong developed the ALL/PHASE program for safety net providers, a critical step in enabling low-income individuals to benefit from medical advances that reduce cardiovascular risk, particularly for those with diabetes.

Dr. Wong, also the director of Kaiser Permanente’s Disparities Improvement and Quality Initiatives, helped establish the systematic measurement of disparities and equitable care as part of Kaiser Permanente’s quality strategy. His work also spawned Kaiser Permanente’s program to identify successful practices addressing health disparities.

“It’s a privilege to be part of a movement that harnesses and recognizes the strengths of working people in creating health,” he said.

Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Wong served in the Region 9 Office of the Department of Health and Human Services, where he was in charge of clinical development of Federally Qualified Health Centers. He is also a founding member of the Western Clinicians Network, and former medical director of Asian Health Services, based in Oakland, Calif.

Marc Jaffe, MD, of Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California’s Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program, led a breakout session at the conference on the region’s multifaceted approach to blood pressure control.

Kaiser Permanente served as a Champion Sponsor of the CPCA conference. Community Benefit supported a Health and Wellness Expo, which highlighted holistic approaches such as yoga, mindfulness and photo therapy, presented strategies for mobile outreach and enrollment, and showcased programs that enable patients to self-manage chronic disease.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanentes-winston-wong-md-honored-by-california-primary-care-association/feed/ 0
Theater Program Uses Drama to Teach Kids about Health Issues http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/the-power-of-mime-using-drama-to-teach-kids-about-health-issues/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/the-power-of-mime-using-drama-to-teach-kids-about-health-issues/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 22:38:49 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11593 The students of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in San Leandro, Calif. are in for a treat: a troupe of actors has come to their school to perform. As the kids enter the multipurpose room, one actor shows off his hula-hoop skills. Music fills the room, and the kids are smiling and moving their bodies. Once they are settled, actors burst onto the stage, dressed in colorful outfits, dancing and clapping their hands.

“If you’re ready for ‘The Best Me’ show, say, ‘Oh, yeah!’” one actor calls out. “Oh yeah!” the kids shout back. The performance that follows is not your typical play — it’s an interactive, high-energy show in which actors in Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program engage the kids on how to eat healthy and be active. The show is part of Kaiser Permanente’s broad effort to tackle the many health issues facing kids today and represents a unique approach health systems can take to improve community health.

Children face many health issues in the United States, and among the most pressing is childhood obesity. Although rates of obesity recently declined in young children, 17 percent of children aged 2-19 are obese, and the rate of childhood obesity has nearly tripled since 1980.

The federal government has been proactive in addressing the epidemic. In 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the “Let’s Move” campaign, which aims to end childhood obesity within one generation. Recent legislation requires schools participating in the Federal School Lunch Program to develop, evaluate and report on school wellness policies. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program includes multiple strategies to get kids exercising at least 60 minutes every day.

The important role that schools play

Schools play a critical role in creating an environment that encourages students to live healthy lives. But many schools — particularly those with limited resources — face challenges in creating these environments. With tight budgets and increasing pressures to use classroom time for test preparation, schools may lack the bandwidth to pursue wellness initiatives. To help them, other entities — such as health systems and community organizations — need to be involved in school-based prevention initiatives, especially in places where obesity rates are high.

Kaiser Permanente launched the Educational Theatre Program in the 1980s to address health issues impacting students, teachers, staff and their families. The program was borne out of the recognition that health education is much more effective when it is fun, interactive, and uses storytelling to captivate people intellectually and emotionally. In the Educational Theatre Program, the organization offers free, live performances to local schools, with a priority on schools in low-income communities, where resources are few and the burden of disease is often greatest. In these shows, actors tackle such topics as healthy eating and physical activity, in addition to subjects that can be difficult to talk about, such as bullying, mental health, interpersonal violence and sexual health.

Health lessons are brought to life through engaging story lines, characters, music, dance, humor and interaction between actors and audience. For example, in “The Amazing Food Detective,” a young soccer player enlists a quirky detective to solve the mystery of why he doesn’t have the energy to play his favorite sport. Along the way, kids in the audience help solve the mysteries, and learn how to eat healthy, exercise and limit screen time.

Having relatable characters and story lines is a critical component for engaging youth. The Educational Theatre Program employs actors who are ethnically similar to the students and who wear clothes that local kids wear. The performances include music that local kids listen to and messages that reflect what young people and their families are experiencing in their communities (the food they eat, for example, varies across communities and cultures). Program content is evidence-based and informed through research, Kaiser Permanente health advisors — such as pediatricians and dieticians — and community health experts and educators.

In addition to the performances, the Educational Theatre Progam offers:

  • Supplemental educational materials that teachers and parents can use to reinforce lessons
  • Health workshops and performances for the broader community
  • Youth leadership programs
  • Residency programs, where actor-educators are embedded in a school or community

Kids remember the lessons

The Educational Theatre Program has reached over 15 million students and their families across nine states and the District of Columbia. In 2013 alone, there were 5,680 performances or events. A 2011 study showed that these performances increased students’ knowledge about healthy eating and physical activity. Prior to seeing a performance, 17 percent of children correctly answered four basic questions about diet and exercise. Immediately after seeing a performance, 63 percent answered all four questions correctly. Three months later, the proportion of children who answered all questions correctly had declined only slightly.

Numbers aside, the myriad letters from people who experience the Educational Theatre Program are a testament to its impact, and clearly show that conversations about health issues don’t stop after the performance ends.

“After the program, the kids were all a-buzz about it and danced and sang!” wrote a principal from Riverside, Calif. “I learned a lot about eating healthy, exercising 60 minutes a day and much more!” wrote a student from Littleton, Colo.

Several factors have contributed to the success of the Educational Theatre Program. First, the program works closely with schools and communities to understand their unique cultures and needs. Second, it uses continuous quality improvement techniques in program management. Third, actors are passionate about being educators and role models. Finally, it looks at the “big picture,” employing Educational Theatre as part of multi-faceted strategy to improve population health. As with Educational Theatre, Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools Program and Community Health Initiatives address a range of health and social issues and communities, including healthy eating and active living (HEAL), environmental sustainability and neighborhood safety.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/the-power-of-mime-using-drama-to-teach-kids-about-health-issues/feed/ 0
Kaiser Permanente Medicare Plans Receive Top Quality and Service Ratings http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-medicare-plans-receive-top-quality-and-service-ratings/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-medicare-plans-receive-top-quality-and-service-ratings/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 21:42:31 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11594 OAKLAND, Calif. — More than 1.2 million Medicare members count on Kaiser Permanente for top quality health care. One of them, 68 year-old Medicare Advantage member, Maureen Nass, was unaware of her near fatal heart condition until a bout of dizziness landed her in a cardiac care unit of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. Kaiser Permanente’s ability to detect her condition quickly through its comprehensive approach to care helped save Maureen’s life. “The doctors, the nurses there, I couldn’t have gotten better care. I can’t say enough good things about them.”

Stories like Maureen’s give insight to the high-quality, coordinated care patients receive at Kaiser Permanente. This type of integrated care is one of the many reasons why the Kaiser Permanente Medicare health plans in its California, Northwest, Hawaii, Colorado and Mid-Atlantic States regions received 5 stars, the highest overall rating for quality and service, released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for 2015. Kaiser Permanente’s Georgia region received 4.5 stars.

Medicare 5 Stars - white stars on a blue background

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created the Medicare Star Quality Rating System in 2009 to provide beneficiaries with a way to assess Medicare plans based on quality of care and service delivery. Since then, Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare plans have maintained high performance in all states in which we operate:
  • Kaiser Permanente Colorado Region received the highest possible rating of 5 stars for the fifth year in a row and is the highest rated Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage (MA-PD) in the state.
  • Kaiser Permanente Northern and Southern California, and Hawaii regions received the highest possible rating of 5 stars for the fourth year in a row and are the highest rated MA-PD plans in their states.
  • Kaiser Permanente Northwest Region received the highest possible rating of 5 stars for the fourth year in a row.
  • Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States Region received the highest possible rating of 5 stars for the third year in a row and is the highest rated Medicare Cost Plan with prescription drug coverage in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. There are no 5-star MA-PD plans in these states.
  • Kaiser Permanente Georgia Region received a 4.5 star rating. There are no 5-star MA-PD plans in the state.

Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente represents five of 11 Medicare Advantage Plans with prescription drug coverage that earned 5 stars for 2015.

“The high ratings we achieve year after year reflect the dedication our physicians and care teams have to the quality and total health of our patients,” said Patrick Courneya, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. “We strive continuously to enhance and improve our proactive communications with members and aligned team-based care to detect, prevent and treat chronic conditions and diseases through a patient-centered approach.”

The Medicare star quality ratings provide Medicare beneficiaries with information to help assess Medicare health plans’ quality of care and service delivery and make an informed choice when selecting a plan. Through the Medicare star quality ratings, CMS rates Medicare health plans with prescription drug benefit (both Parts C and D) on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 5 stars representing the highest quality. The overall scores are based on 46 care and service quality measures across nine categories, including staying healthy, managing chronic conditions, member satisfaction, customer service and pharmacy services.

“At Kaiser Permanente, we are passionate about providing the best care and service experience for our members,” said Amy Compton-Phillips, MD, chief quality officer, The Permanente Federation. “These ratings are a result of the compassionate, hassle-free, cutting-edge care our physicians, nurses and care teams provide our members to help them live healthy, productive lives.”

In addition to the Medicare star quality ratings, Kaiser Permanente Medicare plans were also recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance report — NCQA’s Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2014-15 — as the highest-ranked Medicare plans in the nation for the fourth year in a row. The report ranks all seven Kaiser Permanente Medicare health plans No. 1 in the regions or states they serve.

Along with high-quality care and service, another benefit of a 5-star plan is that Medicare beneficiaries may change their health plan to Kaiser Permanente through the 5 Star Special Enrollment Period from Dec. 8, 2014, to Nov. 30, 2015, without having to wait until the next annual enrollment period. All of Kaiser Permanente physicians accept Kaiser Permanente Medicare health plan members.

Medicare beneficiaries can learn more about the Medicare Star Quality Ratings and Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare plans by visiting kp.org/medicarestars or by calling Kaiser Permanente at 1-877-425-7892.

Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Star ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.

Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States includes Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Kaiser Permanente Northwest includes Oregon and Washington.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 9.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal 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. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-medicare-plans-receive-top-quality-and-service-ratings/feed/ 0
Breast cancer isn’t just a woman’s issue http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/breast-cancer-isnt-just-a-womans-issue/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/breast-cancer-isnt-just-a-womans-issue/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 22:22:18 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_link&p=11586 For a former military physician and athletic male who had played football at UCLA, perhaps being tackled by a potentially fatal disease revealed his bravery best. In 1966, Kaiser Permanente physician Monte Gregg Steadman was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/breast-cancer-isnt-just-a-womans-issue/feed/ 0
Kaiser Permanente Recognized for its Commitment to Ending Domestic Violence http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-recognized-for-its-commitment-to-ending-domestic-violence/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-recognized-for-its-commitment-to-ending-domestic-violence/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 00:34:19 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11577 Do you know someone who has experienced domestic violence or sexual assault? Odds are that you do.

According to a survey sponsored by the NO MORE campaign, the numbers are alarming:

  • 149 million Americans know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault
  • 54 million Americans report they have been a victim of domestic violence
  • 32 million Americans report they have been a victim of sexual assault

But there is a disconnect. Despite the fact that more than half of all Americans aged 15 or older know a victim of domestic violence, only 15 percent believe it’s a problem among their friends. And even fewer conversations are happening about sexual assault.

That is what the NO MORE campaign is all about: To increase awareness and end the silence that is so pervasive around these issues. To do this, it’s critical to initiate and participate in conversations about these topics with friends, family and even children. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to think about this important issue.

Kaiser Permanente has shown its ongoing support of the NO MORE campaign since its launch in 2013. The Peace Over Violence organization recently recognized Kaiser Permanente with the Verizon Wireless Hopeline Corporate Humanitarian Award for its long-standing commitment to ending domestic violence as well as for its support and leadership in the NO MORE Campaign.

If you are looking for additional information on how to get help, resources can be found here, or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-recognized-for-its-commitment-to-ending-domestic-violence/feed/ 0
Kaiser Permanente Wins Award for Fleet Supply Chain Environmental Performance http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-receives-smartway-excellence-award-for-fleet-supply-chain-environmental-performance/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-receives-smartway-excellence-award-for-fleet-supply-chain-environmental-performance/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 22:25:49 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11566 Kaiser Permanente was honored Tuesday with a SmartWay® Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the environmental performance and energy efficiency of its fleet-management operations.

Kaiser Permanente relies on a fleet of more than 1,600 vans, trucks and other vehicles to transport supplies and provide goods and services to its hospitals, medical offices and other buildings across the country.

The organization uses tools and information available through the SmartWay program to make informed transportation decisions. This includes purchasing hybrid trucks, increasing truck load efficiency, decreasing the number of routes and using eco-friendly, low-rolling resistance tires and bio-diesel fuel.

“Kaiser Permanente recognizes we can improve health today and for the future by taking a close look at the environmental impact of our business processes,” said Troy Smith, senior director, National Warehousing and Logistics. “This award recognizes the efforts of our employees to consider environmental protection as part of our mission as a health care organization to protect the health of communities we serve.”

Kaiser Permanente was one of 44 companies to receive this distinction, representing the best environmental performers of nearly 3,000 organizations participating in the EPA’s SmartWay program.

The SmartWay Transport Partnership is a collection of manufactures, shippers, logistics providers and other businesses working together to move goods in the cleanest, most energy-efficient way possible. Since 2004, SmartWay partners’ clean-air achievements include avoiding 51.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – equivalent to taking nearly 11 million cars off the road.

“SmartWay carriers deserve our gratitude for a decade of progress in cutting carbon pollution and other air pollutants,” said Chris Grundler, director, EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “They have reduced thousands of tons of dangerous pollutants and raised the bar on a sustainable transportation future, all while saving money in fuel costs.”

Kaiser Permanente is a health care leader in saving energy and water, purchasing safer materials, sourcing sustainable food and reducing waste. The organization has committed to aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through onsite renewable energy use and energy conservation measures; providing sustainable food for its patient meals; safe recycling of single-use medical devices to eliminate waste; and eliminating toxins such as DEHP and PVC from many of its medical supplies.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-receives-smartway-excellence-award-for-fleet-supply-chain-environmental-performance/feed/ 0
Kaiser Permanente Delivers $1 Million to Aid in Ebola Relief http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-delivers-1-million-to-aid-in-ebola-relief/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-delivers-1-million-to-aid-in-ebola-relief/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 21:58:38 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11573 OAKLAND, Calif. – Kaiser Permanente announced today that it has made charitable contributions totaling $1 million for West Africa Ebola relief to two partner agencies, Doctors Without Borders/ Medecins Sans Frontieres and International Medical Corps. The contributions will support direct medical care and safe clinical treatment practices.

“The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest in history and the first in West Africa, where the affected countries have little health care infrastructure and minimal experience managing a public health emergency of this magnitude,” said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president for Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy, Kaiser Permanente. “It is of the utmost importance that we collaborate with experienced partner agencies on the ground, to treat and isolate the affected patients and ensure the safety of clinicians and others.”

“The rapidity and effectiveness with which donations can turn into medical care in West Africa is vital at this time,” said Cynthia Telles, PhD, chair, Community Benefit Committee, boards of directors of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc. “We are confident that our partners, Doctors Without Borders and International Medical Corps, can put these resources to immediate use to address the critical needs in West Africa.”

Due to the fluidity and evolving nature of the situation, Kaiser Permanente is prepared to provide additional aid as the situation continues to develop. We will continue to closely monitor the situation through communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The charitable donations of $500,000 each were provided earlier this week:

  • Doctors Without Borders/ Medecins Sans Frontieres - $500,000. This funding will support the treatment and isolation of patients and training of local and volunteer health workers in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The organization has mobilized hemorrhagic fever experts and experienced medical and logistical staff, many of whom have returned multiple times to the region in recent months.
  • International Medical Corps - $500,000. This funding will be used to support the creation and operation of two roving teams of trainers – in Sierra Leone and Liberia – to rapidly expand the number of trained health care workers equipped to treat Ebola patients and help ensure the safety of patients, health workers, and Ebola Treatment Unit staff. Teams will quickly help relieve the existing limits on training capacity by training local health care workers in both West African countries.

Both organizations are well positioned to provide relief for this epidemic. They have strong and reliable on-the-ground networks and service delivery models that assist those who are most in need, as well as long track records of fiscal stewardship.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 9.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal 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. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-delivers-1-million-to-aid-in-ebola-relief/feed/ 0
Kaiser Permanente and their Journey to Transform their Supply Chain http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/kaiser-permanente-and-their-journey-to-transform-their-supply-chain/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/kaiser-permanente-and-their-journey-to-transform-their-supply-chain/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:50:00 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_link&p=11585 Kaiser Permanente‘s Laurel Junk, Vice President of Supply Chain Management, and David McCormick, Director of IT ERP Applications, spoke at Oracle OpenWorld last week.

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/link/kaiser-permanente-and-their-journey-to-transform-their-supply-chain/feed/ 0
Kaiser Permanente Physicians Head to Africa to Fight Ebola http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-physicians-head-to-africa-to-fight-ebola/ http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-physicians-head-to-africa-to-fight-ebola/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 23:49:09 +0000 http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/?post_type=kp_article&p=11559 As an emergency room physician for Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento, Calif., Hernando Garzon, MD, has handled his share of challenges. But he may be facing his toughest crisis yet — the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa. The director of Regional Emergency Management for Kaiser Permanente left on Oct. 5 for Sierra Leone, where he’s volunteering with International Medical Corps to set up and run an Ebola treatment unit as well as deliver patient care.

“This is a massive, growing crisis in an area of 22 million people,” he said. “There’s been limited response. There’s a need. I feel the pull to go.”

Another Kaiser Permanente Emergency Department doctor, Steven Whiteley, MD, of Vallejo, also recently left to volunteer with International Medical Corps in Liberia, another country devastated by Ebola.

Few volunteers, great need

Relatively few doctors and nurses are raising their hands to go to West Africa, according to relief organizations.

“After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, thousands reached out to us in days,“ said Margaret Aguirre, head of Global Initiatives with International Medical Corps. “When the Ebola outbreak started hitting the news, we got maybe a handful of volunteers the first few weeks.”

Aguirre said the reasons are complex, but it ultimately boils down to one thing: “It’s scary.”

With such a paucity of volunteers, the International Medical Corps and other relief organizations have had to actively recruit.

But that wasn’t the case with Dr. Garzon, who stepped forward to go. The assignment ends on Nov. 9.

Weighing the risks

Dr. Garzon in 2013. Photo credit: Chip Duncan

Dr. Garzon in 2013. Photo credit: Chip Duncan

Dr. Garzon is no stranger to disaster responses. Since 1995, he has volunteered at 15 domestic crises and 11 international ones, including those caused by natural disasters and political violence.

“We all feel a different sense of connection — there’s self-preservation, then the circle of family, friends and your surrounding community,” he said. “Over the decades, I have expanded my sense of connectedness to the whole world.”

Vinh Le, MD, chief of the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Emergency Department, said he and the staff knew it was only a matter of time before Dr. Garzon volunteered to help with the Ebola crisis.

“He told us the same week when we heard the news that five aid workers and three journalists were killed in Guinean village. We were all worried for Dr. Garzon and even more proud of him,” Dr. Le said. “As usual, our doctors stepped up to cover his shifts within days.”

‘Concern is higher’

Before he commits to a medical mission, Dr. Garzon always evaluates the risks. With this one, he determined that he could be safe.

  • Read about Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians who donate their time and expertise across the globe on the Dispatches From… blog.

He said health care workers got ill because they didn’t realize they were dealing with Ebola or they lacked the proper protective gear. He also found that health care workers got infected outside of clinics, so he knows he needs to be vigilant always. He concluded that the need was greater than the risks.

Even so, the risks are the highest he’s ever encountered. Dr. Garzon wouldn’t say he’s fearful, instead commenting, “My concern is higher.”

He added that nearly everyone, including his family and co-workers, are supportive of his decision. “Only one of my children and one friend said they don’t want me to go, but that they understand why I would choose to go.”

Emergency Department colleague Carolyn Haase, MD, is that friend who said she didn’t want him to go because it’s too dangerous. “That being said, he has the skills to understand, organize, teach and orchestrate a successful plan that could halt a devastating epidemic,” she said.

Like all volunteers, Dr. Garzon will receive training on safety gear and how to deliver care in the protective clothing. There is no vaccine or preventive medicine for Ebola, and no specific treatment for the deadly virus.

Aguirre said relief organizations need seasoned medical professionals, such as Dr. Garzon, to volunteer because the assignment is so tough.

“Having volunteers like him is absolutely critical to stopping Ebola.”

http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-physicians-head-to-africa-to-fight-ebola/feed/ 0