50 Years Of Caring For Hawaii

November 12, 2008
By Janet Liang

Janet Liang
President of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Region

How long have you been with Kaiser Permanente?

I will be approaching two years in March 2009. It has been a great experience, and I am continually inspired by the culture of Hawaii and the passion of our employees.

This month marks Kaiser Permanente’s 50th anniversary in Hawaii. Can you talk about the significance of this anniversary and what celebrations are planned for the month?

We’re really proud to be celebrating 50 years of caring for Hawaii’s people. As an organization, we wanted to celebrate with our members who have placed their trust in us. We are doing several things. The first is we are hosting a fair for our members, staff and their families on Maui, Oahu and the Big Island that will focus on healthy living and eating. We are also doing a fundraiser for the various Foodbanks on the three islands where we provide care. It’s our way of showing that we are part of this community and that it’s important for us that the community thrives. The second thing we are doing is giving $100,000 of grant monies to community organizations. We gave 50 $1,000 grants to organizations across the state that were nominated by our employees. We all felt very proud to support these organizations. On Nov. 14, we will announce a grant for $50,000 to an organization that has been effectively addressing health disparities in Hawaii. We’re really excited to be giving money to such a great cause, but it’s a secret until that day.

Longtime Kaiser Permanente Hawaii members Roland and Alma Ahuna accompany Dr. Vernon Ansdell and Linda Huihui, RN to KSSK’s Perry & Price radio show recently as part of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s 50th anniversary

What have been the biggest changes/improvements with Kaiser Permanente since it first started here in Hawaii?

We are really focused on offering our members convenience and coordination of care through the investment in our technology and electronic records. We call it kp.org. Now our members, wherever they are, can conveniently interact with their healthcare team - they can place prescription orders, schedule appointments and communicate with their physicians online. It’s been received very well by our members who have told us they really like being able to access their medical information. For example, for a mom like myself, it’s great to print out all of my children’s immunization records on my own and bring that to the school rather than having to call someone and either pick it up or have them mail it to me.

It’s such a great convenience. The other big advantage is that we have more than 400 doctors and 4,500 staff who are supported by this electronic system. We can coordinate all the health needs of our members and provide the best care because our clinicians can see all your test results, hospital and physician records, prescriptions and your medical history at one time.

How many members does Kaiser currently have?

We have 223,000 members. That’s roughly 23 percent of the state’s population.

Are there any plans to open new clinics or expand?

There are going to be some new things we’re not ready to talk about just yet, but there are exciting things in store. We’ll be remodeling a lot of our clinics, but we’re also talking about creating greater access on the Big Island and here on Oahu. This April we opened a new tower at our Moanalua Medical Center. It’s the newest inpatient facility here in Hawaii offering the newest emergency room, mother and baby birthing center, and surgical suites on the island.

Can you compare Kaiser Permanente’s healthcare to other health care providers?

Behind every doctor there are actually 400 doctors, including experienced specialists in every area of medicine, and 4,500 staff working 24/7 to take care of you. And they all have access to the same records, so we’re all coordinated. It’s incredibly convenient, and there are so many advantages because it’s not just a doctor but an entire network of care.

What new comprehensive insurance programs are being offered to include all residents of Hawaii?

This is also very exciting for us as we are increasing our coverage programs to create opportunities for everyone in Hawaii to have health coverage. Let me give you just a few examples. In addition to the coverage programs we provided our members for years, we have just introduced a $0 premium Medicare program as well as a new healthy lifestyle program, Silver & Fit, that offers free health club coverage for all Medicare members. We’re also introducing a broader range of individual products at affordable rates. We’re really proud of these new programs as they reinforce our founder Henry Kaiser’s original mission of improving the health our members and the community we serve.

Can you talk about the Kaiser Experience?

It’s a promise and commitment to care for you in sickness and in health. We invest a lot of our resources in prevention. We look at your lifestyle to actually help you avoid getting sick. So, for example, this year we really put a heavy focus on mammography, a test to detect the onset of breast cancer. Early detection saves lives.

What are the goals for Kaiser?

We want to create access for everyone in Hawaii to be able to afford our care. Second is that we have an aspiration to raise the quality of care across the state. We’re using national standards and benchmarks for all of our services.

We believe in being a world-class care provider. We’ve already become the state’s leader in convenience in services by offering extended hours and medical access through kp.org.

We thank the people of Hawaii for their trust in allowing us to care for them. You can expect even more innovation and care in the future.


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