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Kaiser Permanente Team Builds Prosthetic Hands for Charity

OAKLAND, Calif., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 120 members of the national Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect(TM) team today provided a helping hand to amputees with the donation of 60 prosthetic hands to victims of land mine accidents.

In partnership with Odyssey Helping Hands, an organization devoted to facilitating philanthropic team building, a four-hour workshop was held in which Kaiser Permanente participants were challenged to assemble new, highly functional, prosthetic hands for distribution to children in developing nations who have lost limbs as a result of land mine explosions.

KP HealthConnect(TM) is the world's largest civilian electronic health records project. KP HealthConnect(TM) links people securely to their health care teams, their personal health information, and the latest medical knowledge -- taking advantage of Kaiser Permanente's integrated approach to health care.

The idea to participate came about when leaders were planning a meeting for the national KP HealthConnect(TM) team. Searching for an unconventional way to build camaraderie among employees and find more effective ways of delivering services to their customers, Lisa Caplan, vice president of the KP HealthConnect(TM) Business Team, also hoped to produce something that could be returned to the community and provide aid to those in need.

"It is so easy to lose sight of the importance of what we do here at Kaiser Permanente and I felt that the exercise with Odyssey Helping Hands would really bring that point home and resonate with the KP HealthConnect(TM) team members," said Caplan. "I also wanted to make sure that we did something meaningful and tangible so everyone could walk away knowing they changed people's lives during the course of what would normally be a typical meeting or workday."

The workshop combines curriculum, activities and keynote addresses with the cooperative problem-solving exercise of actually assembling the prosthetics.

"It is an amazing experience to see the looks on peoples' faces when they realize that they are building something that will allow amputees to do things that we take for granted every day, such as writing, typing and even eating with standard utensils," said John Arntz, a facilitator of the workshop. "Participants can then apply the lessons learned to their personal work environments with a newfound appreciation of their support systems and the end result of their work."

The activity allows participants to deliver what would typically cost thousands of dollars to recipients free of charge.

Unfortunately, the need is prevalent. The United Nations estimates that there are 100 million 'active' land mines in 60 countries, and 250 million more that are stockpiled and ready to deploy. There are approximately 2,000 land mine accidents every month, with 75 percent of mine blast survivors injured to a degree that requires at least one amputation.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a not-for-profit, group practice program headquartered in Oakland, Calif. Kaiser Permanente serves 8.7 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Today it encompasses the not-for-profit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Permanente Medical Groups. Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente includes approximately 159,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 13,000 physicians representing all specialties. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit the KP News Center at:

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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