This message is being sent on behalf of Janet A. Liang, President, Northern California Region, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan; and Richard Isaacs, MD, FACS, CEO and Executive Director, The Permanente Medical Group.
Even as the fires in the North Bay continue to spread, we want to recognize so many of our people dedicated to the safety of our patients and communities. We are truly inspired by our physicians, nurses, and care teams who performed heroic acts early Monday morning to evacuate 130 patients from the Santa Rosa Medical Center, even while the status of their own homes remained unknown to them in the wake of the raging fires. Over 140 of our employees and physicians lost their homes that night and over the next days, hundreds more evacuated to shelters, hotels, and the homes of friends and relatives. Many are still waiting to return to their neighborhoods with the hope that their homes are still standing and that more lives were not lost, and many more will be affected as the fires continue to spread.
Across the region, patients and members affected by the fires are being cared for by our teams in San Rafael, Oakland, Vallejo and San Francisco. Our appointment and advice call centers are fielding thousands of calls from evacuees, helping displaced members access care. Our continuum teams are locating homebound patients and supporting nursing home patients, transferred from their facilities, who are now separated from loved ones. Urgent replacement of medications, equipment and eyeglasses are being rapidly completed as we extend a “believe me” philosophy to every member need.
Our KP teams have moved quickly to assist communities in great need. From shelters, schools and hospitals that need supplies and medication, nursing homes needing help with evacuations, and even families looking for a safe haven with their pets, we are helping our neighbors in need. Mobilizing KP’s expertise and resources also includes an initial $250,000 grant to the American Red Cross and relief for our customers whose small businesses have been destroyed by fires.
Our mission also has been extended to take care of our own – KP employees and physicians impacted by evacuations and the loss of their homes. Within hours on Monday, a 24/7 Human Resources command center was established to secure temporary housing, offer counseling and provide financial assistance. Hundreds of employees and physicians have called for help. Some have called just to let us know they are safe. All have been appreciative of the caring voices and glimpse of hope offered at the other end of the line.
In addition to our care teams, we want to extend our thanks to the managers, leaders and experts in Information Technology/Telephony, National Facilities Services, National Supply Chain, Patient Care Services, Mental Health, National Security, KP HealthConnect, the Employee Assistance Program, Food and Support Services, Continuity Management, Finance, Quality & Risk, Community Benefit, Human Resources, Communications, Administrative Services, National Transportation/Logistics, Medical Center Operations, Medical Group Administration, MSSA, Member Services and the numerous individuals who have answered the call throughout the day or night to support our patients, members, employees and community. Together we reflect the spirit and generosity of our entire KP community.
Even if you are not directly affected by the fires, you may be living and working amid the resulting smoke, so we are sharing these tips. We will remain vigilant until the fires ebb and our facilities are back to usual operations, and we look forward to helping our communities rebuild.
Finally, so many of you have asked how you can help. Shortly, we will provide information about programs to enable you to personally assist KP employees and physicians who have suffered losses from the fires.