As a mission-driven non-profit organization, Kaiser Permanente last year invested $1.37 billion to improve the health of the communities it serves in Northern California.
The Kaiser Permanente Northern California 2019 Community Health Snapshot highlights some of the many ways the organization works to improve health in those communities.
Some examples in the snapshot include investing $235 million in charitable health coverage and medical financial assistance, $22 million in medical research, and $5.4 million for Sonoma and Napa county fire recovery efforts; providing 20,187 hours of volunteer service by 2,562 employees and physicians; and reaching 186,000 students through free educational theater programs at elementary, middle, and high schools.
Preventing Heart Attacks, Strokes
One program that betters community health through direct medical attention is called Preventing Heart Attacks and Strokes Everyday, or PHASE. Since 2006, 209 community health clinics and public hospitals have adopted the Kaiser Permanente program, reaching 174,000 patients. Combining medication and lifestyle changes, PHASE offers cost-effective treatment for people with existing heart disease and those at greatest risk for developing it.
PHASE is also helping community health centers and public hospitals to advance their data reporting systems, culture of quality improvement, team-based care, and population health management systems.
Homelessness and Affordable Housing
Working with funding from Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Bay Area Community Services (BACS) last year housed 515 formerly homeless Oakland seniors with a chronic health condition or disability. Alameda County and the City of Oakland assisted in the effort.
That program is an example of how Kaiser Permanente helps improve conditions for health in our communities. Safe, stable housing is vital for a person’s physical and mental health.
“Our partnership with Kaiser Permanente in both the Oakland 515 and Keep Oakland Housed programs has been a game-changer in helping reduce the number of unhoused people in Oakland,” said Jamie Almanza, executive director, BACS. “It demonstrates that with resources, strong will, and vision, we can end homelessness in our community.”
North Bay Wildfire Support
Since the devastating fires of 2017, Kaiser Permanente has committed nearly $14 million to 40 community-based organizations to support recovery and rebuilding efforts in the North Bay.
Kaiser Permanente invested in the rebuilding of Santa Rosa Community Health’s Vista clinic as part of $5.67 million in grants made in 2019 dedicated to disaster recovery efforts in Sonoma and Napa counties. The Vista clinic serves more than 300 patients a day.
“About 90 percent of our patients live below the federal poverty level, and most are dealing with housing insecurity, food insecurity, and trauma in their lives,” said Naomi Fuchs, CEO, Santa Rosa Community Health. “It’s been so heartwarming to reopen this clinic for our patients; it’s their medical home, and it’s beautiful.”
Mental Health Support
Investing in communities also means taking care of the mental health needs of children and teens. In 2019, Kaiser Permanente invested $2.6 million in Northern California schools for mental health and wellness programs.
“We know that underserved communities experience disproportionally greater stress than other communities,” said Bidyut Bose, executive director, Niroga Institute in Oakland, which received support last year. “Kaiser Permanente is enabling us to provide stress resilience and trauma-healing mindfulness practices to try to level the playing field.”