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Kaiser Permanente Recognizes and Addresses the Social Needs of Americans

Joyce Bigelow, a KP member in Vancouver, Washington, is connected to housing resources after Juan Munoz-Oca, MD discovered she was sleeping in her truck.

A recent survey conducted by Kaiser Permanente (KP) finds that social needs—safe housing, balanced meals, transportation and social support—are not being met in a third of Americans’ lives. The survey, Social Needs in America, also found that Americans overwhelmingly want health care providers to be involved in identifying and addressing these non-medical social needs which can create barriers to health.

Out of the 1,006 Americans surveyed:

  • 21 percent prioritized spending money for food or rent over seeing a doctor and/or paying for medication;
  • 17 percent couldn’t go to the doctor or pick up medication due to lack of transportation;
  • and 9 percent couldn’t see a doctor regularly because they lacked stable housing.

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About the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Center

Along with the survey results, KP announced the first location for its Thrive Local social needs resources network in its Northwest Region. Within three years, it will be available to all of KP’s 12.3 million members and the 68 million people in the communities KP serves. These communities’ health care providers and caregivers will now have unparalleled capabilities to seamlessly match an individual’s social needs with the appropriate services from within a robust network of nonprofit, public, and private resources.

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