Healthy communities, healthy lives.
At Kaiser Permanente, we are working to build healthy communities, one farmers market, breath of fresh air, and safe playground at a time. We work closely with critical safety-net organizations to provide broad access to high-quality care. We share our financial resources, research, physicians, and clinical practices to address some of the biggest challenges facing health care today. And we share ourselves. Every year our employees generously give their time, talents, and passions for the benefit of others. We believe in total health for our communities, and together we make it happen.
Total health doesn't start or end at the doors of our medical facilities. It doesn't even end at home. Total health includes where you work, where you go to school, and where you play. We believe in making prevention a priority and that healthy communities make healthy people. So we work in collaboration with our members, their families, and our communities to support total health for the mind, body, and spirit.
Kaiser Permanente's Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Community Health Initiatives create health together with the community. We collaborate with community-based organizations and community residents, as well as national and regional partners, to take a prevention-driven approach to health care, creating safe spaces for active living and increased access to healthful food. Our work also addresses community economic development, environmental sustainability, and neighborhood safety — key factors in promoting healthy communities.
In 2011, we invested $7.7 million in more than 40 local HEAL partnerships. Across our Community Health Initiatives, we began implementing a strategy known as clinic-community integration, which seeks to connect the work of our collaborative partners with local health care delivery systems to maximize the impacts of both. We also found further confirmation in our annual evaluations of our HEAL partnerships that dose does matter; that is, the more people we reach with an intervention, and the stronger the intervention, the greater the impact.
We can reach more people working together to build healthy communities through education and collaboration. Maintaining good health is easier when people are surrounded by good choices.
In 2011, we continued to see the uninsured rate rise as many state and local governments were forced to cut their budgets, creating additional burdens on the health care safety net.
Access to health care is an important part of Kaiser Permanente’s efforts to build healthy communities. That’s why we continue to focus resources on supporting safety-net clinics and expanding coverage for Kaiser Permanente care.
In 2011, we expanded our care and coverage programs so that 547,000 people who would otherwise lack adequate health care coverage could access the same high-quality Kaiser Permanente care that all of our members receive.
Part of our commitment to healthy communities includes building the capacity of safety-net clinics for the future. In 2011, we reached an important milestone in our partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), sponsoring our 1,000th safety-net scholarship for continuing education through IHI's Open School program. To celebrate the 1,000th scholarship milestone, Kaiser Permanente's National Community Benefit Program hosted a safety-net scholar panel entitled, "Innovation in Care Delivery to Achieve Equity." The panel celebrated the clinical excellence of Kaiser Permanente's safety-net scholars, and provided an opportunity to share best practices.
We also expanded our partnership with IHI in 2011, announcing that Kaiser Permanente would sponsor the participation of an emerging leader from a safety-net clinic in a fellowship program offered by IHI.
Together, we will continue to strengthen the health care safety net, ensuring that more people have access to the health care they need today and in the future.
For more than 25 years, Kaiser Permanente has brought health education to life through theatre, music, and dance in schools and communities.
In 2011, Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Program (ETP) celebrated its 25th anniversary. Today, each of our eight regions has its own ETP to address the specific demographics and needs of the communities it serves. Programs are informed by community needs assessments and designed by theatre professionals in collaboration with health educators, community advisory committees, and Kaiser Permanente physicians.
Our programs, which are offered free of charge, focus on issues including healthy eating and active living, conflict management, substance abuse, peer pressure/bullying, adolescence, sexually transmitted diseases, literacy, and many others. The performers are professional actors who are also skilled in workshop facilitation and providing health education for culturally diverse audiences.
With decreased funding for education and community-based health services, this kind of interactive, relevant, and culturally competent health education becomes an important way to reach children and families. And an independent study found that these live educational productions are an effective way to teach children the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.
To date, our programs have been presented to more than 15 million children and adults, supporting total health – mind, body, and spirit – and giving people information they can use to stay healthy.
Building healthy communities requires the dedication and commitment of individuals and groups willing to share their skills and time. From physicians to performance educators, Kaiser Permanente understands that everyone can make important contributions to the health of our communities.
Since 2003, we have acknowledged the volunteer efforts of our physicians and employees through the David Lawrence Community Service Awards. This distinguished award recognizes individuals and groups throughout Kaiser Permanente who demonstrate extraordinary efforts to improve the health of our communities locally and abroad. In 2011, 15 winners were selected by a committee of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals board of directors after a rigorous screening process. Each winner is recognized with a $10,000 donation to designate to a nonprofit organization.
The 2011 David Lawrence Community Service Award recipients serve their communities in different ways, including promoting healthy eating and activity; bringing health screenings and treatment to underserved populations; building awareness and decreasing stigmas around various physical and mental illnesses; serving on boards and government commissions; bringing comfort and necessities to victims of abuse or neglect; rebuilding communities after disasters; and bringing safe drinking water to communities.
In addition to serving their own communities in the U.S., these individuals and groups have reached cardiac patients in Russia and Albania; individuals with craniofacial anomalies in Ecuador and the Philippines; children and families in Haiti; children in orphanages in Mexico and Kenya; people who travel for days to get treatment in Vietnam; and individuals with cataracts in Guatemala.
We are proud to recognize the following individuals and groups who exemplify Kaiser Permanente's mission and commitment to building healthy communities:
- Cynthia Atkinson, RN, supervisor, Fair Oaks, VA
- Margaret DeKoven, physician assistant, Lakewood, CO
- Huan Dong, assistant production manager/performer educator, Oakland, CA
- Neal Lonky, MD, MP, OB/GYN, Anaheim, CA
- David Pating, MD, department chief, San Francisco, CA
- Susan Reines, MD, pediatrician, Atlanta, GA
- Sorawoot "Woody" Sorajjakool, RN, BSN, assistant clinical director, Fontana, CA
- Keith Flachsbart, MD, cardiac surgeon, San Francisco, CA
- Faisal Jehan, MD, vitreoretinal specialist, Fontana, CA
- Thomas Kaschak, MD, podiatrist, Fresno, CA
- Darla Morfin, MFT, marriage and family therapist, Alisa Viejo, CA
- Spencer Rickwa, DO, family medicine, Otay Mesa, CA
- James Toth, MD, ambulatory medicine, Sugar Hill, GA
- KP Quilters, a group of 60 KP volunteers in the Northwest Region
- Faces of Tomorrow, a group of KP physicians and support staff from Northern California
Kaiser Permanente's electronic health record means more convenience and better coordinated care for our members, but that's not all. Moving to a completely electronic system makes us greener. Greater efficiency and energy saving result in lower costs across the organization, and that means more affordable health care, too.
Striving to be greener doesn't just make sense for the bottom line. Reducing our impact on the environment keeps our communities healthier, too. We've reduced paper usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and the use of toxic chemicals.
We have been successful in these efforts. Our always-on IT environment and data centers operate around the clock, but we were able to reduce power usage in 2011. Computerworld magazine ranked Kaiser Permanente, the only health care provider on the list, number one on the Top 12 list of Green-IT Organizations for 2011.
Our innovations in cooling efficiency at one of the Kaiser Permanente data centers and our willingness to share this expertise with others have gained us national recognition. The Uptime Institute honored Kaiser Permanente with a Green Enterprise IT Award. We also received a 2010-2011 Energy Star rating from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Protecting the environment is a win for everyone. Kaiser Permanente's commitment to environmental stewardship preserves and enhances the health of our communities now and for future generations.
The continued high unemployment rates in 2011 left millions of families uninsured and struggling to meet other basic needs. Kaiser Permanente responded by sustaining and growing our support for our communities. Our Community Benefit contributions and activities in 2011 totaled more than $1.8 billion, including grants to 1,823 organizations.
At Kaiser Permanente, our mission is to provide affordable, high-quality health care to our members and the communities we serve. The reason is simple enough: Healthy individuals depend on healthy communities — and the social, behavioral, environmental, and clinical ways that we can impact health. And it follows that healthy communities depend on healthy individuals — healthy in all the dimensions of body, mind, and spirit. This is our vision of what we call total health.
For 2011, we continued to focus on three main goals: healthy people, healthy environment, and new health knowledge.
At Kaiser Permanente, we really are about empowering and partnering with our community, and that's why I do what I do.
Healthy Eating Active Living in action in Southern California
Healthy communities foster healthy people. That is why Kaiser Permanente supports programs that teach, inspire, and encourage the creation of healthy communities. From education about better food choices to advocacy for more green space for exercise and play, our vision is healthy living for everyone.