Kaiser Permanente is a good Model for Health Care Reform

Published: 24th June 2010
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Although the federal government, and some state governments, are busy planning and developing programs to handle the new health care regulations, no one is exactly sure how that is going to look. It may require a new business model for both the government and health insurance carriers. Every major health insurance provider, such as Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and others, is busy developing the necessary infrastructure to handle the upcoming changes.

Kaiser Permanente got a nice publicity boost in March when NBC Nightly News identified their care model as one that may work for more companies and for the federal government. According to NBC chief correspondent Robert Bazell, Kaiser Permanente is a good model that is already working and serving millions of Americans. Kaiser Permanente does not offer services in the entire United States. The mainly serve in the following areas: Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Northern and Southern California, Ohio, and the Mid-Atlantic States, as well as the Northwest area. In these areas, Kaiser Permanente has facilities and physicians' offices for their patients.

Many physicians who are part of Kaiser Permanente's network describe that the care model that Kaiser Permanente uses allows them to focus more on delivering care than on the administrative side of medicine. They state that this makes them provide better care for their patients. And the patients are happier when they have affordable access to safe care. Another big positive factor in Kaiser Permanente's model is that they use an extensive electronic medical records database, so all of the Kaiser Permanente physicians have access to all of the patient's' records. This is the world's largest civilian electronic health record. This helps Kaiser Permanente's physicians be able to coordinate and communicate with each other regarding their patients' medical needs in an efficient manner.

Kaiser Permanente has 430 medical office buildings throughout the country, as well as 24 medical centers. They provide health insurance products, and also focus on increasing their members' health by offering fitness equipment at some of their facilities.

Kaiser Permanente began during the great depression in Los Angeles, out of one doctor's office, which was looking for a way to be reimbursed for medical costs. An insurance agent worked with the doctor to establish the prepayment system. The organization has been through many changes, including some name changes as well. They have a partnership with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals and the Permanente Medical Group.

Kaiser Permanente is a unique organization and health insurance provider and some look at its model of providing medical services to its members as a role model. It is possible that the federal government implement a similar model as they work towards providing health insurance and medical services to all American citizens.

Other health insurance companies, besides Kaiser Permanente, are also working to implement programs and plans to help meet the health insurance needs of all Americans. In fact, health insurance companies, along with their national trade association, have been proposing health care reform for many years. However, the media tends to blame the health insurance companies in the press. But the mission statement of all health insurance providers, not just Kaiser Permanente, includes their commitment to making medical services more accessible to more Americans.

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