Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, is one of Modern Healthcare's Top 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare for 2020.

Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of 2020’s Most Influential People


The co-CEO of The Permanente Federation is recognized for demonstrating leadership and impact in influencing the health care industry

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Permanente Federation today announced that Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, CEO and executive director of The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG); president and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group (MAPMG); and co-CEO of The Permanente Federation, was recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of this year’s 100 Most Influential People.

The Modern Healthcare recognition program honors individuals working in the health care industry who are deemed by their peers and an expert panel to be the most influential in demonstrating leadership and impact. Leaders on this year’s list were especially acknowledged for finding ways to help their colleagues and organizations through unprecedented hardships during a global pandemic.

“This honor is a testament to our Permanente physicians and staff,” said Dr. Isaacs (No. 23 on the list). “The adaptability and clinical and operational expertise of our people combined with the advantages of our fully integrated health care system have enabled us to respond to COVID-19 in remarkable fashion over the past 9 months, and our experience will guide us as we continue to face the ongoing challenges presented by this virus.”

TPMG and MAPMG are two of the most distinguished medical groups in the country, and their nearly 11,000 physicians and 40,000 staff care for approximately 5.2 million Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The Permanente Federation is the national leadership and consulting organization for the 8 Permanente Medical Groups (PMGs), which care for more than 12.4 million Kaiser Permanente members across the country.

Modeling Dr. Isaacs’ philosophy to continually consider what’s possible, TPMG and MAPMG physicians and staff during the pandemic demonstrated their commitment to bringing together the most sophisticated tools, systems, and technology to keep patients safe while delivering top-quality clinical outcomes, better and more convenient experiences, and more value. Under Dr. Isaacs’ direction, for example, TPMG:

  • Developed comprehensive COVID-19 playbooks and plans for Kaiser Permanente’s mitigation and suppression strategies, drive-through testing operations, elective surgeries, etc., and shared them broadly with other health systems, with local, state and federal health agencies, and with elected officials to help inform the nation’s response to the pandemic.
  • Implemented a Video Care First Strategy that made virtual visits between physicians and patients the “new normal.” Demonstrating its leadership in virtual care since well before the pandemic, TPMG last October started a program to increase video visits for specialty care. As a result, during the pandemic’s initial surge, more than 80% of all patient visits were virtual.
  • Optimized a robust data analytics infrastructure to inform and support everything from identifying future geographic hotspots of infection and generating COVID-19 risk scores for patients who need surgery, to triaging COVID-19 patients who are not sick enough to be in the hospital, and accelerating the use of video visits.

Also, earlier this year, Dr. Isaacs joined Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospital Chairman and CEO Gregory Adams and other Kaiser Permanente leaders in unveiling a series of actions—including $60 million in joint investments and $40 million in grant funding—to address systemic racism and lack of economic opportunities that have prevented communities of color from achieving total health.

Adams was also named to the 2020 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare list. In addition to Adams (No. 19), Kaiser Permanente leaders on this year’s list include: Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president and chief health officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (No.93) and Hospitals; and Ruth Williams-Brinkley (No. 53), president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States.

Modern Healthcare editor Aurora Aguilar said this year will be remembered for more than the COVID-19 pandemic and election. “It is a year that reminded us of the importance of the frontline health care worker and the power of collaboration,” she said. “Modern Healthcare and our readers selected the 100 most innovative and resilient candidates … which this year comprised a record number of women … who influenced the course that health care took during a global pandemic, continued to press forward amidst uncertainty, and used current events like the election, racial injustice, and public health as an inspiration to do better. Congratulations to our honorees.”

The complete list of Modern Healthcare honorees and their profiles are available at

To learn more about Permanente Medicine, visit

About the Permanente Medical Groups

The Permanente Medical Groups are self-governed, physician-led, prepaid, multispecialty medical groups composed of more than 23,000 physicians. We are dedicated to the mission of improving the health of our patients and communities. Together with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, we are Kaiser Permanente — an award-winning health care system that delivers Permanente Medicine to more than 12.4 million Kaiser Permanente members. We work collaboratively, enabled by state-of-the-art facilities and technology, to provide preventive and world-class complex care in eight states — from Hawaii to Maryland — and the District of Columbia.

About The Permanente Federation

The Permanente Federation LLC (the Federation) is the national leadership and consulting organization for the eight Permanente Medical Groups (PMGs), which, together with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, comprise Kaiser Permanente. The Federation works on behalf of the PMGs to optimize care delivery and spread Permanente Medicine — medicine that is person- and family-centered, compassionate, evidence-based, technology-enabled, culturally responsive, team-delivered and physician-led. The Federation, based in Oakland, California, fosters an open learning environment and accelerates research, innovation and performance improvements across the PMGs to expand the reach of Kaiser Permanente’s integrated care delivery model and to lead the nation in transforming care delivery.