This post has been updated with a clarification
Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson, attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month told Forbes that more healthcare leaders around the world increasingly are focusing on the health of people, rather than just their ailments, and paying for better coordinated care.
“We can't think about health only when a patient shows up at a hospital or at a doctor's office,” Tyson said in the article. “We also need to think about health when that person is at the grocery store, at work or at home.”
That's nothing new, per se, as nearly all healthcare organizations today have made that their mantra. But the so-called “Kaiser-fication” of the healthcare system has gained more endorsements of late. Specifically, the federal government said last month that it wants the entire health system to move to the value-based payment model that Kaiser has touted for decades.
For Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser, that has involved meshing providers and insurance into one system. Other organizations such as Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa., have successfully embraced this model. And several others are noticeably working to become their own regional Kaisers, with varying degrees of success.
Partners HealthCare, a health system in Boston, bought a health plan a couple of years ago, but it has struggled to manage that new insurance arm. Highmark, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate in Pittsburgh, is also working through the kinks of taking over hospitals and doctors. However, the provider side has slowly been built back up.
But not every hospital system without an insurance plan necessarily wants to buy one. Dignity Health, a hospital system based in Kaiser's backyard of San Francisco, said it has zero interest in either starting or acquiring a health insurance division. “I think that's ill conceived,” Dignity CEO Lloyd Dean said at a conference last summer. “I think it's ultimately not going to be successful.”
So while Kaiser is often viewed as the gold standard of successful health systems, others seem intent on finding their own paths to the promised land of value-based care.
This story has been updated to clarify the meaning of Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean's remarks.
Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman