In 2020, Kaiser Permanente marked the 75th anniversary of our founding as a nonprofit integrated health care provider. We also fought a deadly global pandemic, the likes of which the world has not seen in more than 100 years. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged every part of Kaiser Permanente to rise to our calling and deliver on our mission like never before. We are humbled by the tremendous skill, strength, compassion, and courage the people of Kaiser Permanente demonstrated every day in the face of this public and global health crisis.
Our highest priorities continued to be our unwavering commitment to providing high-quality, affordable care to our members, patients, and communities equitably and safely, while protecting our health care workers from harm.
In each stage of the pandemic, Kaiser Permanente’s dedicated physicians and employees did an outstanding job delivering virtual and in-person care while also providing COVID-19 testing and treatment, and in December, the first vaccinations.
Our accomplishments reflect the strength of our integrated model amid the unparalleled challenges of fighting COVID-19. We have been able to respond as an enterprise with speed, focus, and impact. The interconnectedness and interdependence of the hospitals, health plan, and medical groups that make up Kaiser Permanente have advanced our efforts to operate seamlessly as an enterprise.
Tragic events across the country in 2020 sparked massive demonstrations and demands for our nation to change and to address racial inequities, social injustice, and systemic racism. This has become a movement and a moment — perhaps a pivotal moment in our nation’s evolution — when we are all called upon to take action, to make progress and changes. At Kaiser Permanente, we heard and felt this call deeply, and chose to deepen our commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity, and demonstrate clearly that our organization stands with those who are fighting for equity and social justice. We announced a series of actions beginning in June 2020 to do more to address equity and systemic racism and remove some of the long-standing obstacles that have prevented communities of color from achieving total health. Among our actions was a commitment to provide $100 million in investments and grants to fight racism and address the trauma it creates, and to promote economic equity in communities that have been held back. We have more to do, just as our nation has more to do to address these fundamental challenges.
Kaiser Permanente made progress in much of our other work, as well. In spite of the pandemic, the first class of students at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine safely started in August 2020. Our initiatives to address the social health of our patients, members, and communities not only continued in 2020, but expanded across the enterprise, and we’re just beginning. Because we are increasingly screening for social health needs and risks across care delivery, we’ve connected our members, patients, and community-based resources and partners to close more gaps in social health needs — including those related to housing, financial, transportation, food, and more.
This report offers a summary of the progress our organization and our people made in 2020, in the face of the pandemic, to continue to advance our 75-year mission to deliver high-quality, affordable health care and improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We will continue our efforts to shape the future of health care in this nation with more people and communities benefitting from our leading model.
Greg A. Adams
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Imelda Dacones, MD
Chair, National Permanente Executive Committee, The Permanente Federation, LLC; President and CEO, Northwest Permanente, P.C.
Our commitment to delivering high-quality care is one of the foundations of Kaiser Permanente’s 75-year mission.
We strive to deliver care that is safe and effective, timely and efficient, person-centered and equitable.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a significant challenge to our ongoing efforts to deliver the right care, at the right time, in the right setting. Public health stay-at-home orders mandated the suspension of most in-person, nonurgent care for months. Already a leader in offering a variety of telehealth capabilities for our members and patients, we expanded our virtual capacity so that our highly trained clinical teams could deliver care to our members and patients. We found a way to safely provide care, from preventive care to advanced treatment of complicated and chronic health conditions. As a result, about half (48%) of our ambulatory care visits in 2020 were conducted virtually by video or scheduled phone call. Overall, Kaiser Permanente provided more than 31 million scheduled phone and video visits in 2020, including a 28-fold increase in video visits over 2019, as members embraced telehealth options for safety, quality, and convenience. As soon as we were allowed to resume in-person, nonurgent care, we did so in a safe, expeditious, and coordinated manner to protect our patients, staff, and communities.
Our remote patient monitoring programs help empower members who have diabetes, hypertension, or congestive heart failure, or who are pregnant or postpartum to better manage chronic conditions by securely sending health data to their care providers, where it’s then uploaded to their electronic health record. In 2019, before the pandemic, a monthly average of approximately 17,000 members were actively using remote patient monitoring programs. In 2020, that number jumped almost 90% to a monthly average of nearly 33,000 members.
Kaiser Permanente has decades of experience confronting highly infectious diseases. We were engaged in nearly every aspect of the health care response to the pandemic, including prevention, screening, testing, treating, prescribing, hospitalizing, vaccinating, and recovering associated with the virus. During 2020 we cared for nearly 600,000 patients with COVID-19, including close to 33,000 who required hospitalization. We administered 4.8 million COVID-19 diagnostic tests, and were among the first health care organizations to begin administering vaccines when they became available in December 2020. We increased treatment space and supplies to help manage the initial outbreak and retained expanded capabilities to help meet the evolving demands of the pandemic. We also ensured that members diagnosed with COVID-19 did not have to pay copays or other cost share related to their medical care and treatment of COVID-19, including the cost of hospitalization.
Our care quality performance and member satisfaction ratings are consistently among the highest in the nation. We measure and track our performance on behalf of our members and patients, both to confirm what is working well and to determine where we can continue to improve.
We are committed to helping our members and communities enjoy healthy, engaged lives.
Kaiser Permanente believes that total health is more than freedom from physical affliction. It’s about mind, body, and spirit. Our work demonstrates that we strive to provide total health for our members and our communities.
We believe that everyone is entitled to total health, and that includes equal access to high-quality health care. Kaiser Permanente’s model of integrated care and coverage supports total health by helping prevent disease, heal illness and injuries, manage complex and chronic conditions, support emotional well-being, improve mental health, and encourage healthy lifestyles. This is how we help our members and communities thrive.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed and also confirmed some of the inequities in our society and in health care today. A disproportionate burden of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths has fallen on Black, Latino, and other underrepresented and historically marginalized communities.
To help counteract disparities in COVID-19 health outcomes, Kaiser Permanente took action, including:
Kaiser Permanente has a long history of deep and abiding commitment to health equity. People of color make up more than 47% of our membership, and our workforce reflects and frequently exceeds the diversity of the communities we serve. We were ideally positioned to help lead the nation's efforts in providing culturally responsive care to help reduce and mitigate health disparities, both prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re a recognized leader in eliminating care disparities, and we continue to drive progress by addressing care gaps among underserved populations.
Caring for our members and patients, working toward healthier outcomes, and improving access to high-quality care for more Americans drives us. Kaiser Permanente is focused on delivering better health for our members and communities.
*Data from 2020 National Committee for Quality Assurance Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set
We leverage our integrated care delivery system, highly skilled physicians, and data-rich model to help improve health care.
Kaiser Permanente began 75 years ago as an innovative reimagining of the existing system of health care. We have remained an innovation leader ever since.
As a result of the changes that occurred during the pandemic, health care itself will evolve going forward. Many innovations in care already underway at Kaiser Permanente were accelerated by the pandemic, and there will be more.
As a part of our mission, we continue to invest in technology, and build and improve care facilities, to deliver high-quality, affordable, and convenient care to more people. Kaiser Permanente’s longtime commitment to investing in technology helped support a rapid ramp-up to meet increased telehealth and remote care needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for counseling and therapy. In 2020, Kaiser Permanente provided more than 31 million scheduled phone and video visits and nearly 4.6 million e-visits, enhancing care while providing increased safety and convenience for our members.
Over the course of the year, we enabled a 28-fold increase in video visits over 2019, as members embraced telehealth options for safety, quality, and convenience. We helped our members sign in to the kp.org member website and mobile app more than 423 million times for activities such as sending secure messages to clinicians, viewing lab results, and filling 42 million prescriptions. We have also made mental health apps available to members to use on their own or under the guidance of a clinician — at no additional cost.
Our research institutions are among the nation’s most productive and — armed with one of the world’s largest sets of medical data — help advance care and deliver better outcomes, improve and innovate our current model, and develop solutions that improve the health of our members, patients, and the communities we serve.
Our researchers and physicians worked together with our organizational leaders and external partners to improve our understanding of COVID-19 regarding prevention, screening, diagnosis, disparities, comorbidities, antibodies, and treatment. Our researchers and physicians participated in clinical trials to help develop successful new vaccines at record speed, and also helped study investigational drugs and other therapeutic strategies. Kaiser Permanente serves a large and diverse population, and its integrated care system is uniquely positioned to help evaluate the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Our researchers have been conducting this kind of research for 30 years.
Note: Data in this section does not include Kaiser Permanente Washington.
We believe that by addressing the root causes of poor health we can help improve total health for everyone.
Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to improving conditions for health in our communities extends beyond the delivery of health care and is another foundational part of our 75-year-old mission.
We work to help address the economic, social, and environmental conditions that are important drivers of community health.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored deep-seated inequities in health care for communities of color and amplified the social and economic disparities that contribute to poor health outcomes. In response, Kaiser Permanente leveraged its resources to help support the needs of communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic — to improve health for all.
To help protect our most vulnerable communities, Kaiser Permanente provided resources to strengthen COVID-19 prevention, treatment, and response for people across our communities. We provided funding to enable communities to respond to specific local needs, such as expanding testing, enhancing coordination with local public health departments, reaching out to people experiencing homelessness, and building capacity for community-based health care providers. We committed to awarding grants to safety net organizations to help support people with low incomes and who are uninsured, and people experiencing homelessness with continued access to high-quality telehealth, even after the pandemic ends.
As part of, and in addition to, our work addressing the effects of the pandemic, our initiatives focus on tangible areas where we can engage nonprofit community partner organizations to help develop real economic opportunities; expand access to stable and affordable housing; nurture safe, healthy, and successful schools; tackle harmful environmental challenges; and increase the availability of nutritious food.
Kaiser Permanente has committed significant resources to support the critical work of public health departments’ contact-tracing efforts in California, to help reduce the number of people who contract COVID-19, including within communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
We provided support for comprehensive COVID-19-prevention campaigns, including education and other forms of outreach to foster confidence in and adherence to public health behaviors for communities facing challenges to recover from the pandemic’s devastating impacts.
Kaiser Permanente announced new grant funding to address systemic racism and the persistent lack of economic opportunities that prevent communities of color, and especially Black communities, from achieving total health. We also committed to awarding grants targeted to help break the cycle of trauma and stress driven by racism that leads to poor health outcomes.
In September 2020, Kaiser Permanente became the first health care organization in the United States to achieve carbon-neutral status, through long-term renewable power purchase agreements, improved energy efficiency, onsite renewable energy generation, carbon offsets, and other tools.
Our work is highlighted in our annual Community Health Snapshot.
The COVID-19 pandemic tested our strength, resilience, and compassion and revealed how extraordinary our people are.
At every level, in every type of job, we witnessed countless examples of inspiring commitment, personal courage, and selflessness, as our people worked every day to deliver care and coverage during the worst public health crisis in 100 years.
The COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented in terms of the challenges it posed to our society, our economy, our communities, and the health care industry, including Kaiser Permanente and of course our physicians and employees. The people of Kaiser Permanente met those challenges.
We are profoundly and deeply grateful to our physicians and medical teams, staff, and employees who provided high-quality and compassionate care to protect our members, patients, communities, and each other. The extraordinary commitment and dedication of Kaiser Permanente employees throughout our response to the pandemic, especially those who have been serving on the front-line fight of this deadly virus, have been inspiring and reaffirming.
Throughout the pandemic, Kaiser Permanente’s highest priority has remained the health, safety, and well-being of our employees, physicians, members, patients, and the communities we serve. At the very outset of the pandemic, Kaiser Permanente followed the science, federal and state public health guidelines, and our highly trained infectious disease leaders to protect our teams and provide safe and effective care to our members and patients. We secured hard-to-find personal protective equipment, brought in additional staffing, provided resources for child care and housing, and expanded paid leave and other benefits. Much of this we did in collaboration with our labor leaders and partners. Working together, we protected our teams so they could provide high-quality care and coverage to our members and patients. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we will continue to help support and protect our most critical resource: our people.
We continue to seek to work collaboratively and productively with the unions that represent our employees. Through our ongoing labor-management partnership — one of the nation’s longest-standing — we share information, raise concerns, work on joint resolution of challenges, and celebrate the many successes of our dedicated workforce.
Equity, inclusion, and diversity are fundamental to our mission and our people. We strive to have a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our members and communities, understands their needs and preferences, and delivers culturally responsive and competent care and services. We work to help create an inclusive culture that drives collaboration, engagement, high performance, and continuous learning. We take action to promote the values of equity, inclusion, and diversity among our people and in the communities we serve.
As a part of our commitment to racial equity and social justice, and to creating an inclusive, psychologically safe workplace where everyone has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential and to use their diverse perspectives and individual strengths to help support our mission, in 2020 we took the following actions:
For 75 years, Kaiser Permanente has been committed to shaping the future of health and health care — and helping our members, patients, and communities experience more healthy years. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Since July 21, 1945, Kaiser Permanente’s mission has been to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. As of December 31, 2020, we had 12.4 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.
Greg A. Adams
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Ramón F. Baez
David J. Barger
Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA
Leslie S. Heisz
David F. Hoffmeister
Judith A. Johansen, JD
Meg E. Porfido, JD
Matthew T. Ryan
Richard P. Shannon, MD
Cynthia A. Telles, PhD
A. Eugene Washington, MD, MPH
Greg A. Adams
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Executive Vice President, Enterprise Business Services
Anthony A. Barrueta
Senior Vice President, Government Relations
Vanessa M. Benavides
Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer
Andrew Bindman, MD
Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer
Bechara Choucair, MD
Senior Vice President, Chief Health Officer
Regional President, Northwest
Interim Chief Information Officer
Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer
Executive Vice President, Group President, Markets Outside California
Senior Vice President, Business Optimization and Redesign
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Janet A. Liang
Executive Vice President, Group President and Chief Operating Officer, Care Delivery
Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer
Regional President, Southern California and Hawaii Market
Regional President, Washington
Carrie Owen Plietz
Regional President, Northern California
Regional President, Colorado
Regional President, Georgia
Arthur M. Southam, MD
Executive Vice President, Health Plan Operations and Chief Growth Officer
Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer
Regional President, Mid-Atlantic States
Mark S. Zemelman
Senior Vice President, General Counsel
Permanente Medical Group Leaders
Imelda Dacones, MD
President and CEO, Northwest Permanente, P.C.
Edward M. Ellison, MD
Executive Medical Director/Chairman of the Board, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Chairman of the Board and CEO, The Southeast Permanente Medical Board; and Chairman of the Board and CEO, Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, Inc.
Margaret Ferguson, MD, MBA
President and Executive Medical Director, Colorado Permanente Medical Group, P.C.
Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS
CEO and Executive Director, The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.; President and CEO, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C.
Paul Minardi, MD
President and Executive Medical Director, Washington Permanente Medical Group, P.C.
Mary L. Wilson, MD, MPH
President and Executive Medical Director, The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Inc.
The Permanente Federation
Edward M. Ellison, MD
Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS
Imelda Dacones, MD
Chair, National Permanente Executive Committee
Nancy Gin, MD
Executive Vice President, Quality, and Chief Quality Officer
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
Edward Lee, MD
Executive Vice President, Information Technology, and Chief Information Officer
Stephen Parodi, MD
Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Communications and Brand