The Nashville Health Care Council hosted a panel discussion featuring Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson. Before a crowd of approximately 300 Council members, Tyson conversed with U.S. Senator Bill Frist, M.D., on topics ranging from Kaiser Permanente’s highly coordinated continuum of care to the ongoing national debate about the future of health care in the U.S.
View event photos on Flickr.
Photo credit: (c) 2017, Donn Jones.
Tyson, who was recently named to Time magazine’s 2017 list of “100 Most Influential People,” leads Kaiser Permanente – one of the nation’s largest integrated health care providers and not-for-profit health plans – contracting with Permanente Medical Group physicians and serving 11.7 million members with operating revenue of $70 billion annually.
“We have built a health care system at Kaiser Permanente that partners with people from early beginnings to dignified endings,” Tyson said. “When a baby is born, we’re thinking about how we can help that mom and dad give their baby a healthy start. Unlike the industry sick-based system, we believe in a philosophy of building healthy life years, focused on prevention, early detection and early treatment. Our delivery system provides high-quality care for all stages of illness and for healthy lives as well.”
Kaiser Permanente – widely praised for its tight integration of coverage and clinical services – and with its closely coordinated primary, specialty and hospital care, places a strong emphasis on prevention and uses technology extensively to help deliver the best possible experience and optimal outcomes.
“Last year, of 100 million primary care encounters between our members and our Permanente physicians, more than 52 million were done virtually by phone, text, secure messaging and video,” he said. “At Kaiser Permanente, we believe the hospital is an important and necessary access point if and only when necessary. My doctor is in my pocket all the time, yet if I feel I need to go into the medical office, I’ll do that. I am comforted by knowing I have choices, and that gives me peace of mind.”
Later, he offered, “In my view, the hospital of the future is in the home for many of the illnesses cared for in a traditional hospital setting today.”
Speaking to his role in helping to implement the Affordable Care Act under President Barack Obama and in his ongoing dialogue with the Trump administration concerning the future of health care, Tyson acknowledged the ongoing evolution of health policy and the need for industry leaders to engage with Washington in that process. “In this country, we decided a long time ago that health care is a right, yet people without health coverage suffer unnecessarily by waiting to go to the emergency room – one of the most expensive doors for health care,” he said.
He continued, “The best strategy is to be at the table. The evolution of health care is happening on our collective watch. Health care reform must address the changes necessary in both health insurance and care delivery. We need to not sit within the four walls of our organizations and assume that’s all we can influence. We must work together to make sure millions of people in America have access to health coverage. That provides the key to going through the front door of care.”
“The Council is honored to host Senator Frist and Mr. Tyson – two of the country’s most influential people in health care – for this important discussion,” said Hayley Hovious, Council president. “We encourage all of our members here today to take what you have learned back to your organizations, and continue to collaborate to improve health care around the world.”