Kaiser Permanente launches social health network to address needs on a broad scale


Transformative social health network will help millions address social needs including food, housing, and transportation

OAKLAND, Calif. – Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest nonprofit, integrated health system, is launching Thrive Local, the most comprehensive, far-reaching social health network of its kind. Kaiser Permanente is partnering with Unite Us to connect health care and social services providers to address the pressing social needs including housing, food, safety, utilities, and more for millions of people across the United States.

With an ambitious timeline, the new Thrive Local network will start rolling out summer 2019. Within three years, it will be available to all of Kaiser Permanente’s 12.3 million members and the 68 million people in the communities Kaiser Permanente serves. These communities’ health care providers and caregivers will now have unparalleled capabilities to seamlessly match an individual’s social needs with the appropriate services from within a robust network of nonprofit, public, and private resources.

“Kaiser Permanente has long understood that total health can only be achieved through a combination of physical, mental, and social care,” said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and chief executive officer, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals. “In order to thrive, people need access to the things that are vital to health such as secure housing and nutritious food. Our unique mission to improve not only the health of our members, but also that of our communities, drives us to undertake impactful initiatives like Thrive Local to connect our communities with the services they need. This is one of our bold moves.”

Recent data indicates that in certain regions, up to 29 percent of Kaiser Permanente’s members that have the greatest medical challenges are dealing with food insecurity, and as many as 23 percent have concerns about housing stability — critical issues that are among the types of challenges that Thrive Local will address.

In addition to being integrated into Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record system to comprehensively serve its members, Thrive Local’s network of resources will also be made available to community-based organizations to efficiently reach the broadest possible group of those in need.

“Where and how people live, work, and play drive more than half of health outcomes,” said Imelda Dacones, MD, president and chief executive officer, Northwest Permanente. “To address total health, we, as physicians, need systems and networks that address our patients’ social needs.

“Health care in this country must continue to evolve — from acute episodic care, to an integrated coordinated system focused on prevention and coordinated care management. This tool will accelerate our evolution as a sector to next-generation care delivery — a community-integrated model that connects physicians, our patients, and health care systems to community resources that address our patients’ socioeconomic needs.”

The network will track community partner referrals and service outcomes to measure the degree to which participants’ needs are met — gathering data to continuously improve service delivery and better address community conditions for health. Kaiser Permanente is partnering with and investing in Unite Us, a social care coordination platform, to build and power this transformative network.

“By integrating this network into our clinical care, our members with unmet social needs will be connected to community services more efficiently,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, chief community health officer, Kaiser Permanente. “In addition, Thrive Local will be open to community health centers and community-based organizations to improve social health access for the entire community.”

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, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group 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. To learn more about Kaiser Permanente, visit https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/.