Kaiser Permanente from Then to Now
Many different people have insurance from Kaiser Permanente and receive all of their primary care from the hospitals and physicians within this popular healthcare network today. The organization operates in nine different states as well as Washington, DC. Kaiser Permanente Colorado serves the Boulder and Denver areas, for example, while there are also separate networks for Northern and Southern California as well as the Pacific Northwest states and Hawaii. There are also plans for Kaiser Permanente Georgia and the Mid-Atlantic States, which individuals, families and small businesses in those areas can sign up for.
The story of Kaiser Permanente goes back to 1945, when industrialist Henry J. Kaiser and physician Sidney R. Garfield founded the organization at the height of the great depression with just one inventive young surgeon and a twelve bed hospital in the middle of the Mojave Desert. It wasn’t long until the health insurance enterprise spread to include Kaiser Permanente Colorado and all eight other state-specific networks, but first there was a lot of work for this industrialist and doctor who revolutionized healthcare in the United States.
The idea was set into motion when Dr. Garfield saw thousands of men occupied in building the Los Angeles Aqueduct who needed healthcare, so he borrowed money to construct Contractors General Hospital six miles from the tiny town of Desert Center to treat injured and sick workers. He was having trouble financing the operation and convincing insurance companies to pay for his bills on time, and since he also cared for non-insured workers, he often paid for the services himself and was quickly getting into more debt than he could pay off. This was when Henry J. Kaiser came in, and now there are facilities from Kaiser Permanente Georgia to Kaiser Hawaii bearing his name.
Kaiser Permanente is now administered through eight regions, including one parent and five subordinate health plan entities with one hospital entity and nine separate affiliated medical groups. This may sound confusing, but as an individual or family, rest assured you only need to be concerned with the specific affiliated medical group for the area where you reside.