Kaiser Permanente Leaders Named ‘Women to Know’ in Health Care

Feature Story
Donna Lynne on the left and Ruby Gill on the right with Beckers Hospital Review logo across the bottom

Two Kaiser Permanente leaders are honored among “130 women hospital and health system leaders to know” by Becker’s Hospital Review. Recently selected from a record number of nominations nationwide, executive leaders Donna Lynne and Ruby Gill are being recognized by the publication for their management and leadership skills, and their career accomplishments as health care executives in this dynamic and fast-evolving industry.

Donna Lynne, DrPH, is an executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc. Most recently, she played a lead role in reaching an agreement for Kaiser Permanente to acquire Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, and is guiding the health plan’s efforts to finalize the transaction, which is expected to take a year. In addition, she has responsibility as group president for Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest, Colorado and Hawaii regions. She previously served as president of Kaiser Permanente’s Colorado region for 11 years. Under her leadership, Kaiser Permanente Colorado experienced significant membership growth and an unprecedented expansion of medical offices and service areas. Her work resulted in awards for quality care and care improvements, as well as customer service and satisfaction, from J.D. Powers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, NCQA and others. In part because of these accomplishments, she was named one of Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare in 2015.

What are her thoughts on the future of health care? She points to a challenge faced industry-wide by health systems and providers: “We’re seeing incredible advancements in clinical practice, pharmaceuticals and technology that are improving the quality of life and longevity; however, at the same time, the cost of care keeps increasing. Kaiser Permanente — with our focus on affordability and health care access for all — is and will continue to play a major role in tackling this challenge and transforming the care model.”

She cites Kaiser Permanente’s historical focus on evidence-based medicine and its integrated model as being the exception, rather than the rule, in today’s health care world. Those foundational strengths, she said, “are key to our role as leader in creating the future of health care.”

Ruby Gill, RN, MBA Healthcare Management, is the chief nurse executive of Kaiser Permanente Irvine’s Medical Center in California. During her tenure, Irvine Medical Center has received multiple program certifications and designations from agencies such as The Joint Commission and Nurses Improving the Care of Healthsystem Elders. Her leadership has led the center to consistently outperform national benchmarks for nursing quality indicators. Her program work has resulted in a reduction of falls, as well as decreased hospital-acquired pressure ulcers — an achievement that garnered her a Performance Excellence Award in 2014 from the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes.

In reflecting on what makes an exceptional leader in health care, Gill said great leaders are those who are “authentic, committed to excellence, and thrive on growing others to their highest potential.” She believes opportunity lies in hiring and promoting the most passionate professionals who are “willing to get the work done to ensure optimal patient outcomes and staff satisfaction.” That philosophy may well be one reason Kaiser Permanente Irvine has one of the lowest registered nurse turnover rates in the country.

Insightful, talented leaders such as Lynne and Gill are helping drive the transformation of health care. And as women leaders, their accomplishments represent the value of diversity in leadership. Kaiser Permanente’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion has enabled it to build the leadership, workforce, culture and systems to meet the diverse needs of the members and communities it serves. In 2015, the organization was the only health care organization to appear in DiversityInc’s top 10 companies for diversity, and has been among the magazine’s top 10 for the past seven years.