To be healthy, people need access to both affordable, high-quality health care, and to vital resources and services that help them live healthier lives.
Weaving a Stronger Safety Net for Access to Care and Coverage
Kaiser Permanente provides comprehensive health coverage to nearly 1 in 5 Southern Californians. As a community hospital system, we support and are part of the medical safety net. Additionally, every year we serve more than half a million, low-income individuals and families by:
- Delivering high-quality care to more than 420,000 people through the Medi-Cal program.
- Providing care through our Medical Financial Assistance Program to more than 100,000 patients who lack the financial means or insurance to fully afford their care.
Over the past decade, we have also provided $96.5 million in grants and sharing best practices to support our clinic consortia, federally qualified health care center, free clinic, and public hospital partners to ensure the safety net remains strong. Together, we are working to build their capacity to improve the quality of care, advance health care connectivity, and increase health equity for the more than 6.5 million low-income individuals served by California’s community clinics and public hospitals.
Addressing Social Needs for Better Health
Through our Thrive Local initiative, we will connect Kaiser Permanente patients and members to community-based organizations that offer social services such as food, transportation, employment, and stable housing. Using a new online platform starting in 2020, these organizations, other health care systems, and Kaiser Permanente will form connected community networks to better meet the social needs of Southern Californians.
“Our goal is to build a true community network to help meet people’s basic needs beyond the medical setting. This connection is essential to foster health equity and ensure lifelong good health for everyone in the communities we serve.”
Unmet Social Needs: A Barrier to Good Health
Through our Food for Life effort, we’re creating new strategies to make healthy food accessible to everyone, while fostering the important social and cultural connections that food provides. For example, this fall we launched a texting campaign reaching hundreds of thousands of members to identify and enroll members who qualify for CalFresh—California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—to enable them to overcome financial barriers to healthy, nutritious food. Looking forward, we seek to influence the food economy by using Kaiser Permanente’s purchasing power to support local and sustainable food sourcing.
“Good nutrition is an important component of health. Helping our members get access to food assistance through CalFresh makes a significant difference in their diet and their health.”
Boosting Mental Health Care
We are committed to removing barriers to quality mental health care. Through our Community Mental Health and Wellness initiative, we are investing $6 million in community-based strategies to grow the mental health care workforce in the community, spread culturally competent best clinical practices, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.
WORK IN ACTION
Community Health Requires Collective Action
Kaiser Permanente Southern California joined the Be Well Orange County coalition of health systems, the County of Orange, the Medi-Cal plan CalOptima, and other key leaders who came together to confront a growing need for more capacity for mental health services and substance abuse treatment. Be Well Orange County envisions a comprehensive mental health “system of care,” featuring 3 Regional Wellness Hubs. The initial Wellness Hub in the city of Orange, which broke ground this fall, will provide a range of crisis stabilization, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and residential care, as well as a mobile crisis response team, transportation, social services, employment, education, and legal aid to anyone in need, regardless of ability to pay.
“Be Well Orange County illustrates how together we can accomplish what no one entity can alone. As an organization committed to health, it’s a responsibility and a privilege to be part of this public-private partnership. We can change lives, improve health, and reduce homelessness.”