Richard Isaacs, MD, discusses why COVID-19, national unrest present a pivotal moment in U.S. health care

In a recent Becker’s Healthcare podcast episode, Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, discussed why the COVID-19 pandemic and recent national unrest present a pivotal moment in health care delivery in the United States.

Dr. Isaacs, CEO and executive director of The Permanente Medical Group and president and CEO, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, shared his views in an interview with Scott Becker, founder and publisher of Becker’s Healthcare and Becker’s Hospital Review.

Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS

“Now we’re dealing with a trifecta of uncertainty,” said Dr. Isaacs, who is also co-CEO of The Permanente Federation, the national leadership and consulting organization for 8 Permanente Medical Groups. “We’ve got this pandemic, and we’ve got this global … economic collapse. And now we’re starting to be reminded of the social inequities and the social determinants of health and how we need to really execute on care delivery to ensure the highest quality of care for all Americans.”

The need to focus on care delivery and ensuring the highest quality of care for patients aligns exactly with the focus of Kaiser Permanente’s integrated model, which is high-quality, patient-centered, affordable health care, and health care innovation, Dr. Isaacs said. “We believe that when you focus on prepayment and you align the physician group with the health plan, the physicians are making the right decisions that drive to the best possible outcomes.”

As a result, he added, “I think that this is going to be really a transformational time in American health care, when we’re all looking for what is the best way to deliver high-quality health care in the most effective and affordable ways.”

Dr. Isaacs also described Kaiser Permanente’s industry-leading work in telehealth, his personal journey as a leader, and why Kaiser Permanente has become a destination for some of the best and brightest physicians and clinicians in U.S. health care today.

Note: To hear the entire interview, visit the Becker’s Healthcare Podcast site.