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Kaiser Permanente Approves $11 Million in Community Benefit Grants

OAKLAND, Calif., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente, one of America's leading health care providers and nonprofit health plans, announced today that it has approved more than $11 million in grants and donations to more than 700 nonprofit agencies nationwide in the second quarter of 2009. The health care organization's grants this quarter focused on providing access to high-quality care to uninsured and underserved communities, healthy food and fitness opportunities to children and families, and funding education programs for health professionals.

"We want our communities to emerge from this economic crisis in good health," said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy. "Kaiser Permanente is committed to supporting community health programs jeopardized by the recession. Especially in tough times, access to healthy foods, health care and educational opportunities that will result in more highly qualified health professionals serving those in need are critical to creating and sustaining healthy communities."

Kaiser Permanente's grants nationwide included, but were not limited to, the following:

Food and Fitness in Tough Economic Times

Kaiser Permanente has been at the forefront of national efforts to promote access to healthy foods. In continuing to fund this initiative, Kaiser Permanente awarded the Public Health Institute $200,000 to develop a program to provide financial incentives for food stamp recipients to increase their consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables. Through this "Healthy Purchase Pilot" program, food stamp recipients will receive "bonus values" on purchases of healthy foods.

Kaiser Permanente awarded $150,000 to the Food Research and Action Center in Washington, D.C., to make food stamp and school meal programs more available to eligible people who are not enrolled in the programs. Previous studies have shown that only 45 percent of eligible children in the United States receive school breakfasts and one-third of eligible children are not reached by the food stamps program. This number has grown in the current recession, and the program will help to close that gap.

Kaiser Permanente funded a $275,000 grant to the DeKalb County School System in Atlanta, Ga., to build a wellness program for students and staff that will include fitness assessments, health education and a fitness center available to students and staff at two high schools during the school day. The money will also be used to staff programs throughout the system during non-school hours and to support an outreach worker to ensure students are enrolled in a health insurance plan for which they are eligible.

Youth in Denver, Colo., who are 17 and younger may use city recreation centers, including swimming pools free this summer, as a result of a $150,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente to the City and County of Denver's Park and Recreation. The City waived fees for youth last year but was unable to do so this year. As a result of this grant, youth will have free access to recreational opportunities from late June to mid- August.

Providing Free Health Care to Underserved Communities

Kaiser Permanente has funded $300,000 to Operation Access, a nonprofit organization that coordinates free outpatient surgeries and surgical consultation to uninsured individuals. Participating Kaiser Permanente medical centers nationwide donate operating and procedure rooms, staffed by Kaiser Permanente volunteer physicians and medical staff to offer the free outpatient surgeries in 23 Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Northern California.

The Volunteer Center of Orange County, Calif., will receive a $150,000 grant over two years to fund the Access OC outpatient surgery program. In Orange County, more than 12 percent of adults and 8 percent of the children are uninsured, and access to specialty care is limited. Access OC, based on the Operation Access model above, identifies, recruits and coordinates donated services of Kaiser Permanente medical professionals and medical facilities to provide free outpatient surgical care to Orange County's uninsured and working poor. These free surgeries enable many people to overcome ailments that previously prevented them from working.

The John Wesley County Hospital Institute of Los Angeles is the recipient of a $250,000 grant over two years to address the issue of recuperative care for homeless patients following surgery. The grant, issued to the Recuperative Care Program at the Weingart Center, will be used to maintain five recuperative care beds for a year, and provide 24-hour nursing care and case management services to homeless persons recently discharged from area hospitals.

Strengthening Communities' Safety Net

The Effort, a Sacramento, Calif., community clinic providing primary care, was awarded a $200,000 grant to reopen the Oak Park clinic. This funding will enable the clinic, which was recently closed due to state budget cuts, to reopen and provide primary care, prenatal care and mental health services to the Oak Park community in which more than 30 percent of the residents have household incomes at or below the Federal Poverty Level.

The Challenge Center of La Mesa, Calif., is the recipient of a $70,000 grant to support the Center's Extended Physical Therapy and Assisted Fitness Program for one year. The program will provide physical and health/wellness services for 50 people living with severe physical disabilities in San Diego County.

The National Patient Safety Foundation in Boston, Mass., received a $718,010 grant over two years for the "Patient Safety Initiative at America's Public Hospitals." This initiative, a partnership between the NPSF and the National Association of Public Hospitals, is the first joint effort to establish a uniform patient safety program to the nation's public hospitals. The initial goal is to establish quality improvement protocol and procedures at 80 public hospitals nationwide, of which 30 will be named later this year.

Equipping Health Care Professionals With Tools and Education

Kaiser Permanente funded several grants addressing the need for higher education among registered nurses beyond the Associate Degree Nursing. Nursing education grants included the following:

  • $250,000 to the California State University East Bay Foundation
  • $249,000 over two years to the Fresno State Center Community College Foundation
  • $250,266 over three years to the Sonoma State University Academic Foundation
  • $250,000 over two years to San Francisco State University
  • $750,000 over five years to the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute

Kaiser Permanente has pledged $300,000 over three years to the University of Hawaii to implement a comprehensive toolkit to manage childhood obesity. The toolkit is designed to facilitate patient-centered communication, parent involvement and behavior changes leading to lifestyle modification, particularly among Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Island and recent immigrant families living in low-income communities. This grant will develop policies for early identification of overweight and obese children, determine implementation of the toolkit by safety-net providers and evaluate the effectiveness of the toolkit in assisting primary care providers to manage childhood obesity.

Kaiser Permanente's grants approved this quarter are in addition to 400 grants totaling $13 million approved in the first quarter of 2009. These grants are a part of Kaiser Permanente's ongoing commitment to improve the health and well-being of the communities in which it serves.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and 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. For more information, go to: and

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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