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Kaiser Permanente

One of America’s leading integrated healthcare organizations, Kaiser Permanente, is weathering the economic storm with the help of its union partners. Like many businesses, the nonprofit health plan faces challenges including rising healthcare costs and the impact of growing unemployment on its membership. However, Kaiser Permanente draws on the expertise of its Labor Management Partnership to meet these challenges. Specifically, the partnership’s unit-based teams of physicians, supervisors, and union employees, who regularly work together to set goals, improve team performance, proactively solve problems, and capitalize on opportunities, have created a number of innovative solutions.

Faced with losing more patients who could no longer afford insurance premiums, two teams in the Pacific Northwest worked together to successfully bring surgeries in-house, saving Kaiser Permanente about $18,800 per month and keeping patient costs more affordable. By more realistically evaluating staffing needs, an environmental services team in Richmond, VA, reduced overtime hours by 50 percent—saving money for the organization and improving quality of work for employees. Across the organization, teams are working to improve service, quality, and patient affordability, while making Kaiser Permanente an excellent place to work. In 2010, the organization was ranked as one of the “most innovative companies in health care” by Fast Company magazine, and in four regions was rated the best health plan in a customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

Kaiser PermanenteIndustry: Healthcare
Headquarters: Oakland, CA
Union: Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions
Union Employees: 96,000 healthcare workers and support staff
Total Employees: 154,000

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