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Kaiser’s Commitment to Community Health

August 15, 2022

By Tammye McDuff

Kaiser’s commitment to community health has continued to be an important role in helping individuals and communities to navigate an ongoing health challenge.

COVID-19 vaccination rates increased through 2021, communities endure virus surges and outbreaks. During each phase, Kaiser evolved to meet the ever changing challenges and social health needs.

“Looking back at our work over the year, we are proud of what we accomplished,” stated Bechara Choucair, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Health Officer. “When the COVID-19 vaccine became available to the public, we designed, built, and adjusted outreach campaigns to increase vaccination rates. We also helped ensure fair and equitable administration of vaccinations in communities most affected by COVID-19.”

As the health of communities takes economic toll, Kaisers accelerated efforts broaden their scope of care to address all factors that affect people’s health. Having a safe place to live, enough money to pay the bills, access to healthy meals, and meaningful social connections is essential to total health.

As one of the nation’s largest nonprofit integrated health care organizations, Kaiser is driven by a mission to improve the health of members and the communities they serve, believing that being healthy isn’t just a result of high-quality medical care. Through resources, reach, and partnerships, Kaiser has addressed unmet social needs and community factors that impact health. Equity and inclusion are at the core of their work.

Financial inequality and financial insecurity have direct consequences on health, particularly mental health and chronic stress.

Kaiser is a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, which recognizes corporations that spend at least $1 billion with minority and woman owned suppliers.

Kaiser has provided funding to organizations, such as the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, Prosperity Now, and the Alliance of African American CDFI.

Since June 2020 their efforts have helped more than 18,000 entrepreneurs, 78% of who are people of color, connect to capital, technical training, and financial coaching.

With these business supports, entrepreneurs helped retain or create over 14,000 jobs in our communities between 2020 and 2021.

In 2021, Kaiser led efforts to end homelessness and preserve affordable housing by making strategic impact investments, shaping policy, and catalyzing innovative partnerships.

To respond to increased vulnerability to COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness in California, we partnered with the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Homeless and Housing Initiative and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council to develop the Antigen Testing in Congregate Shelters.

In October 2020, Kaiser, followed through on a pledge to invest $25 million to help California combat homelessness.

Through the Thriving Schools initiative, supporting k-12 school systems, Kaiser partnered with school districts, launching an enhanced website with a library of credible resources that support schools and foster health.

They expand the National Healthy Schools collaborative by partnering with American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Education Association, Action for Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools Campaign and Child Trends.

In 2021, Kaiser served nearly 1.3 million Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program participants.

In addition to providing quality care and coverage for Medicaid members, they support the nation’s social safety net which is made up of various programs to protect and help people with low incomes through grantmaking. Kaiser has provided health care coverage through Charitable Health Coverage programs to nearly 14,000 people with low incomes who don’t have access to other public or private health coverage. And they provided more than $463 million in medical financial assistance to patients in need in 2021.

After becoming the first health care organization in the United States to achieve carbon neutral status in 2020, Kaiser turned their focus to reducing emissions from their broader supply chain investments, pursuing a science-based target for additional emissions reductions.

Kaiser met their goal of having all new major construction projects achieve LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. In November 2021, the council identified Kaiser Permanente as the top health care organization in the world for our number of LEED-certified buildings, with a total of 66.

Now in 2022, Kaiser believes it is crucial to lend their voice and support to improving the nation’s public health infrastructure and demonstrate the value of public-private partnerships in confronting collective challenges to be better prepared for the next crisis.