Fast Facts

Kaiser Permanente Northwest


Our history | Our services | Dental Care Program | Center for Health Research | Personnel | Health care facilities | Affiliation | Medical services | Dental services | Recognition for quality care | Key quality measures | Products | Community services

Our history
Kaiser Permanente’s history in the Pacific Northwest goes back to the medical group established to serve workers and their families during construction of Grand Coulee Dam in northeastern Washington in the late 1930s. During World War II, those physicians served workers and their families at the Kaiser shipyards in Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash. With the closing of the shipyards in 1945, enrollment was opened to the community.

Our services
Kaiser Permanente provides prepaid health care (including Medicaid and Medicare) to people living in the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area, as well as the communities of Longview and Kelso, Washington, and Salem, Oregon.

Enrollment in the medical program now stands at 504,000.

Kaiser Permanente Dental Care Program
The Northwest is the only Kaiser Permanente region to provide prepaid dental services. With 230,000 members, it is one of the largest group-practice dental programs in the country.

Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research
A nonprofit research institute founded in 1964, the center studies issues of excellence, equity, and efficiency in the delivery of health care. The Center’s investigators receive millions of dollars in federal research grants and have conducted studies of smoking cessation, heart disease, breast cancer, women’s health and depression in teenagers among other topics.


  • 880 physicians (93 percent board certified in their specialty)
  • 116 dentists
  • 8,900 employees (including more than 400 allied health professionals)

Health care facilities

  • Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas, Oregon (licensed bed capacity: 196 beds)
  • Kaiser Permanente maintains arrangements with several community hospitals.
  • 27 outpatient medical offices
  • 16 dental offices

In the spring of 1997, Kaiser Permanente formed an affiliation with Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound that allows for each health plan’s members to receive care while visiting the other’s service area.

Medical services

  • hospital services
  • doctor office visits
  • maternity care
  • well-baby care
  • immunizations
  • allergy testing
  • emergency and urgent care
  • home health/hospice care
  • routine checkups
  • laboratory and other diagnostic tests
  • X-rays
  • pharmacies
  • health education classes
  • mental health services
  • skilled nursing care
  • adolescent and adult substance abuse treatment

Dental services

  • dental office visits
  • dental health assessments
  • teeth cleaning
  • X-rays
  • oral cancer screening
  • Children’s Health Awareness Program (CHAP)
  • pediatric dentistry
  • orthodontics
  • pedodontics
  • endodontics
  • periodontics
  • prosthodontics
  • emergency and urgent care
  • oral surgery
  • denture services

Recognition for quality care

  • Our electronic medical records system lets our physicians document diagnoses, prescribe medicine, order tests, and make referrals—all online. Our electronic medical records system has been honored with the American Medical Group Association’s Acclaim Award and with Kaiser Permanente’s James A. Vohs Award for Quality.
  • Our Web site lets members find out more about their medical conditions and prescription medications, get advice about self-treatment, join online discussion groups moderated by medical professionals, and get personal advice from a nurse or pharmacist.
  • Patients suffering from heart attacks get quality care at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center. In 2006, Kaiser Sunnyside staff provided 100 percent of patients who were suffering heart attacks five of the six measures recognized as improving outcomes for such patients. These included promptly giving aspirin and beta blockers, which cut the relative risk of dying after a heart attack by 40 percent or more.
  • Kaiser Permanente Northwest has been ranked No. 1 among the nation’s top HMOs by the readers of a leading national consumer magazine.
  • In 1995, Kaiser Permanente became the first HMO in Oregon and southwest Washington to receive three-year, full accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). In 1998, 2001, and 2004, we were once again awarded three-year, full accreditation, now known as Commendable accreditation. And in 2002, our HMO and Medicare plans received the highest level of accreditation: Excellent.
  • Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center is one of fewer than two dozen hospitals across the nation to be deemed “Baby Friendly” by the World Health Organization for promoting breastfeeding. Almost half of the babies born at Kaiser Sunnyside are still being breastfed six months later, nearly twice the national average.
  • We make sure our members with diabetes receive regular tests and checkups. As a result, 57 percent of our members with diabetes have good to excellent blood-sugar results, greatly exceeding the American Diabetes Association’s target of 40 percent.

Key quality measures

  • Kaiser Permanente has an 80 percent immunization rate for children age newborn to 2 years (who have been members since birth). The state average for this age group is 54 percent.
  • prenatal care in first trimester: 93 percent
  • checkups after delivery: 73 percent
  • mammograms: 79 percent
  • Pap test: 80 percent
  • beta blocker treatment after a heart attack: 97 percent
  • diabetic retinopathy: 75 percent
  • advising smokers to quit: 69 percent
  • outpatient follow-up after mental health hospitalization: 95 percent


  • Point-of-service option for Oregon and Washington employer groups
  • Kaiser-on-the-Job, which provides medical services for workers who suffer a job-related illness or injury
  • Workers’ compensation medical insurance integrated with coverage of nonwork-related injuries and illnesses
  • Personal Advantage individual policy
  • Senior Advantage for those over 65 (includes free membership at 16 local health and fitness clubs)
  • Kaiser Permanente dental plan

Community services
Kaiser Permanente’s philanthropic efforts are directed at improving the health status of people who live in the community, with a specific focus on children. For example:

  • We donate thousands of dollars worth of office and medical equipment to community-based organizations.
  • We take part in the Safe Kids campaign to reduce children’s accidents. Focusing on low-income people, we donated more than 400 bike helmets, as well as life vests and car seats last year. Our children’s health and safety tent is present at many community events.
  • We work with local community colleges to provide health benefits to adults (as well as their dependents) enrolled in life-transition programs.
  • Our employees, physicians, and dentists spend hundreds of hours each year volunteering in the community. Employees can apply for a $250 grant on behalf of any nonprofit organization for which they volunteer. These grants totaled more than $20,000 last year.
  • Three poison prevention gardens located in Vancouver, Tualatin, and east Portland help educate parents and others about avoiding accidental plant poisoning.
  • For several years in a row, Kaiser Permanente has fielded the largest, or one of the largest, corporate teams for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, in addition to being a gold-level sponsor of the event. Our contribution included almost 40,000 half-liter bottles of water with Kaiser Permanente’s logo and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure date on the label.
  • Kaiser Permanente staff have formed teams to participate in raising funds for numerous health-related non-profits, such as:
    • American Cancer Society
    • Cascade AIDS Project
    • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    • March of Dimes

    Kaiser Permanente will again be in May 2008 sponsor for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in Portland. In 2007, we raised $20,000 for heart research and education through the Heart Walk.

  • We were the presenting sponsor of Kaiser Permanente’s Reach the Beach event, a noncompetitive 103-mile bike ride that raises funds for research and programs for the American Lung Association. Almost 2,000 people participated. Kaiser Permanente physicians and staff who are trained in basic first aid served as medical bike riders. Most rode the entire 103-mile trek to the beach. More than $65,000 was raised from the event.
  • For the fifth year Kaiser Permanente staff supported area schools through a school supplies drive. This year, $1,400 in cash was collected and 160 boxes of supplies. Included were 3,009 ballpoint pens, 14,824 crayons, and 164 binders. These supplies were distributed to 27 elementary schools near our facilities.
  • AIDS Walk 2003 was a huge success for Cascade Aids Project (CAP) and for the walkers from Kaiser Permanente. For our first year as a corporate sponsor, Kaiser Permanente had more than 70 people participate, nearly double the 42 who participated last year, and five times as many as participated in the 2001 walk. Our staff made up several teams. There were members from Kaiser Permanente’s staff associations: KP Pride, African American Association, and the Latino Association. Kimm’s Kapers, a team lead by Linda Sloan (whose daughter died from AIDS), raised more than $7,500 for AIDS Walk 2003, and collectively all four teams raised more than $12,000.
  • Visitors at the Portland Home and Garden Show learn from Kaiser Permanente about gardening to prevent plant poisonings. At these shows, which are held twice a year, we partner with master gardeners in the community who have been trained in plant toxicology by a Kaiser Permanente pharmacist.
  • Kaiser Permanente supports through sponsorship and grants a wide variety of community organizations that have recently included:
    • African American Health Coalition
    • Morrison Child and Family Resource Service
    • Basic Rights Oregon
    • Independent Living Resources
    • Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon
    • Salem Worldbeat Festival
    • Urban League of Portland
  • To help the uninsured, each year Kaiser Permanente provides millions in support for community health clinics and other service programs in the Northwest, including:
    • Essential Health Clinic in Hillsboro, Oregon
    • Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Cornelius, Oregon
    • Family Medicine of Southwest Washington in Vancouver, Washington
    • Wallace Medical Concern in Gresham, Oregon
    • Central City Concern in Portland