Supporting Healthy Communities through Collaboration: The Healthcare Anchor Network

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Supporting Healthy Communities through Collaboration: The Healthcare Anchor Network

Last December, 40 health systems gathered at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington DC, to explore together how we can advance thriving, inclusive economies in the communities we serve across the country. This week, we’ll gather again to officially launch the Healthcare Anchor Network.

This collaboration represents a critical milestone in mobilizing our sector towards action and collaboration, and we are so proud to be a founding member.

Other founders include Advocate Health Care, Catholic Health Initiatives, Dignity Health, Henry Ford Health System, ProMedica, Providence St. Joseph Health, RWJBarnabas Health, UMass Memorial Health Care, Rush University Medical Center and Trinity Health.

And the Network continues to grow – new members include Adventist Health System, Bon Secours Health System, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Christiana Care Health System, Cleveland Clinic, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Gundersen Health System, HealthEast Care System, Mercy Health, Northwell Health, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Partners Healthcare (Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s), Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Presence Health, Seattle Children’s Hospital, UC San Francisco and VCU Health.

The lessons from the December meeting, and the vision of the Healthcare Anchor Network are presented in a report produced in partnership with the Democracy Collaborative and the founding members of the Network. The report reflects our collective voice calling our sector to action. It also provides useful examples and tools, to help health systems across the country become familiar with the policies and practices they might adopt to more intentionally support inclusive economic development in their communities. The examples and tools (produced with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) focus in particular on how healthcare providers can hire, buy goods and services, and invest capital in ways which benefit communities and residents most effectively.

These efforts are not easy—at Kaiser Permanente, we are working day-by-day to overcome the obstacles to adopting an anchor approach cross-functionally across our organization. We believe that our individual and collective journey in this important work will be greatly improved and our positive impacts amplified, if we work together.

The new Healthcare Anchor Network will convene health systems in order to share best practices, address common challenges, and identify areas where collaborative efforts may be possible. Our initial efforts will focus around:

1.     Making the case for adopting an anchor strategy;

2.     Effective collaboration with community stakeholders in these efforts;

3.     Shifting incentives to reward upstream health investments;

4.     Aligning approaches for scale;

5.     Building evidence of impact; and,

6.     Developing a shared policy agenda around addressing upstream determinants of health.

The Center for Total Health—an interactive learning destination committed to supporting innovation in how healthcare is delivered and experienced—provides the perfect venue for these conversations. We’re looking forward to gathering again at the Center this week to continue advancing healthcare sector innovation and collaboration for inclusive, thriving communities. We hope you and your health system will join us!

To learn more about the Healthcare Anchor Network, including how to join, contact David Zuckerman at the Democracy Collaborative,

Strengthening Medicaid as a Critical Lever in Building a Culture of Health

By | Charity Care and Coverage, Uncategorized | No Comments

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) hosted its annual membership meeting and reception at The Center for Total Health,  prior to its 29th Annual Policy Research Conference on January 26.

Joy Lewis, senior health policy leader of Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Policy served on the panel that looked at Medicaid’s role as an insurer of more than 70 million people and its capacity to address the underlying social determinants of health.

“We approach today’s discussion with the belief that Medicaid will continue to serve a pivotal role as an insurer of low-income populations. More and more, health care leaders, providers, and others in the health care ecosystem are giving recognition to the fact that health is greatly influenced by complex social factors,” said Lewis.

The report, Strengthening Medicaid as a Critical Lever in Building a Culture of Health, is the result of a study panel that included state Medicaid program directors, public health and health policy experts, health researchers, medical and health professionals, and health plans, and was convened by the nonprofit NASI.

“The panel approached this project with several key goals in mind,” said Trish Riley, co-chair of the study panel and Executive Director at the National Academy of State Healthy Policy. “We aimed to discuss strategies that could increase Medicaid’s potential to help move the dial on individual and population health, while improving health care quality and program efficiency.”

To learn more about the report:

To read the entire press release about the conference and highlights of the repor:

The National Academy of Social Insurance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to advance solution challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security.

Pictured above keynote speaker: Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Co-director, Caring Across Generations

CDC Foundation Board of Directors Welcomes New Member Raymond Baxter

By | Blog & Bloggers, Charity Care and Coverage, Community Health Initiatives, Environmental Stewardship, Health Sector, Healthy Communities, Research | No Comments

raymondBaxterThere’s a new face on the CDC Foundation Board of Directors with the election of Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president for community benefit, research and health policy for Kaiser Permanente.

The CDC Foundation focuses its work on building partnerships between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and corporations, foundations and individuals that, in turn, support the CDC’s 24/7 work to fight threats to health and safety.  

Baxter, who has a distinguished career in public health, has long been recognized as a leader in the space.  In 2006, he was the recipient of the 2006 CDC Foundation Hero Award in recognition for addressing the health consequences of Hurricane Katrina, as well as for his longstanding commitment to improving the health of communities.  In 2001, U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health honored Baxter’s efforts working at the San Francisco Department of Public Health during the AIDS epidemic.

Today, Baxter leads the work that fulfills Kaiser Permanente’s social mission, which includes care and coverage for low-income people, community health initiatives, health equity and environmental stewardship.  He also leads the health organization’s efforts in research and health policy.

In a recent interview with the CDC Foundation, when asked about the source of his passion for improving the health of communities, Baxter points out, “the health of communities is a matter of social justice that literally affects everyone’s health and quality of life….It’s about equity.” 

He goes on to note that his mission-driven work at Kaiser Permanente means addressing health needs across the board, “from individuals and families to homes, schools, worksites, neighborhoods, and the broader society.”

You can read Baxter’s Q&A in its entirety on the CDC Foundation blog.

Committed to Advancing Public Health

By | Charity Care and Coverage, Community Health Initiatives, Environmental Stewardship, Health Sector, Healthy Communities, Healthy Living, Obesity Prevention & Treatment, Research, Safety Net, Schools, Walking | No Comments

NPHW_Logo_2In honor of National Public Health Week, our friends over at the Kaiser Permanente News Center have put together a list of 10 ways the health organization demonstrates its commitment to public health.  The list includes the Every Body Walk! public awareness campaign, the Educational Theatre Program (celebrating its 25th year bringing important health information and conversations into schools), Safety Net grants and fellowships, and its efforts to fight this country’s obesity epidemic.

It is actually part of Kaiser Permanente’s mission to help improve the health of the communities it serves.  For more on KP’s contributions in the public health space, visit here.

Supporting the Total Health of Our Communities

By | Charity Care and Coverage, Environmental Stewardship, Healthy Communities, Healthy Living, Obesity Prevention & Treatment, Research, Safety Net | No Comments

A significant part of total health is the overall health and well being of our communities, and we try to highlight examples of programs working toward total health on this blog.  After all, with the number of American adults without health insurance increasing to 17.1 percent in 2011, there continues to be a growing need for programs and initiatives in our communities that support good health and healthy living.

Kaiser Permanente recently released its community benefit report, which highlights programs that benefited from the $1.8 billion the health organization devoted to its community benefit activities in 2011.   These investments included $68 million for community health initiatives and environmental stewardship, $24.6 million for grants to safety net partnerships, and $119 million for medical research (that’s 4,000 research and evaluation studies conducted and 1,100 articles published in professional journals on topics like diabetes, childhood obesity, HIV, and genomics).

You can read more about the report here, including great stories of total health in action at the community level.