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San Diego in The News

Supporting public health response to COVID-19

OAKLAND, Calif. – Kaiser Permanente is contributing $1 million to 10 leading public health organizations and collaborating with CDC Foundation to strengthen the United States’ public health infrastructure and response systems to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The organizations that will receive this funding include: American Public Health AssociationAssociation of State and Territorial Health OfficialsBig Cities Health CoalitionCouncil of State and Territorial EpidemiologistsCounty Health Executives Association of CaliforniaHealth Officers Association of CaliforniaNational Association of County and City Health OfficialsNational Health Law Programthe Network for Public Health LawPublic Health Institute; and Trust for America’s Health.

These organizations work closely with state and local health officers and play an important role to support them in responding to public health threats. This contribution will help them focus on rapidly sharing emerging evidence and data, aligning on effective protocols and policies, and cascading accurate information as it becomes available — as well as quickly debunking misinformation.

“Public-private collaboration and intergovernmental coordination are critically important in creating effective outbreak response,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, chief health officer at Kaiser Permanente. “These groups have immense breadth and depth of experience addressing public health issues and can ensure alignment with the health care ecosystem.”

“Government support is essential in combatting health threats, such as COVID-19,” said Judy Monroe, president and chief executive officer of the CDC Foundation. “But philanthropic and private sector donations, such as this generous gift from Kaiser Permanente, can be used alongside government funds to extend response efforts and meet rapidly emerging needs, including those with organizations supporting state, local, county, and territorial health officials.”

The CDC Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help extend the lifesaving work of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC Foundation activated its Emergency Response Fund for the COVID-19 response in late January.

A key part of Kaiser Permanente’s mission as the nation’s largest nonprofit, integrated health system is to improve the health of its 12.2 million members as well as that of the 68 million people who live in the communities it serves.

“As a leading health care provider with a deep commitment to community health, Kaiser Permanente is proud to support these organizations to safeguard health and mitigate the impact of the virus in our communities,” said Cynthia Telles, PhD, Community Health Committee chair for the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Boards of Directors.

Kaiser Permanente and Enterprise Community Loan Fund Collaborate to Invest $4.3 Million to Create and Preserve Affordable Housing in San Diego and Los Angeles

To help tackle the homeless epidemic, a loan from Kaiser Permanente to Enterprise Community Loan Fund has recently resulted in two impact investments totaling $4.3 million in San Diego and Los Angeles to provide more affordable, secure homes for those most in need of shelter.

With 4.6 million members across Southern California, nonprofit Kaiser Permanente seeks to improve the health of the communities it serves by both providing high-quality, integrated health care services and enhancing the economic and social conditions in communities that impact people’s health.

In San Diego, $3.2 million will be invested to preserve 22 units of affordable housing at the 43rd Street Apartments in the City Heights area currently housing low- and moderate-income families. The developer, Housing Innovation Partners, plans to keep the rents for this housing stable for residents.

“Stable, affordable housing is essential to a person’s health,” said John Yamamoto, vice president of Community Health and Government Relations at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “Yet, many of the communities we serve are grappling with high rates of housing insecurity and homelessness. These efforts are designed to help change that.”

Jon Walters, associate director of Housing Innovation Partners, emphasized how the loss of affordable, multifamily housing is impacting a growing number of families in the San Diego region, and how that is contributing to increased homelessness in the community.

“When we first met with the residents of the property, their main concern was that the purchase of the site would result in a dramatic increase in rent or a loss of their housing,” Walters said. “We were happy to inform them not only have we been able to preserve the site as affordable housing, but have the goal of reducing their tenant portion of rent over time.”

The San Diego and Los Angeles developments are the first impact investments in Southern California from the recently created $100 million RxHome Fund. This fund is comprised of a $50 million loan from Kaiser Permanente to Enterprise Community Loan Fund, plus an additional $50 million in capital from ECLF. The goal of the RxHome Fund is to create and to preserve 3,250 healthy and affordable homes over the next decade in Kaiser Permanente’s service areas nationwide.

The RxHome Fund is part of Kaiser Permanente’s $200 million Thriving Communities Fund addressing housing stability, homelessness and other community needs. The Thriving Communities Fund is designed to make investments to improve the conditions for health in the communities served by Kaiser Permanente, where 12.3 million members and 68 million people reside. Impact investing is an innovative strategy to produce measurable social benefit impacting people’s lives, with sufficient financial returns to replenish funds for continued investment.

Lori Chatman, president of Enterprise Community Loan Fund, said this $4.3 million investment of private capital is to support well-designed homes that are affordable and connected to health care, good jobs, schools and transit. “As a social impact investor, Kaiser Permanente is investing to create better health outcomes for residents while earning a financial return,” she explained. “We hope that Kaiser Permanente’s investment will inspire even more socially minded investors to recognize the connection between positive health outcomes and a stable home.”

In Los Angeles, $1.1 million will be invested in a Los Angeles Family Housing development in the North Hills area of the San Fernando Valley. The Angel Apartments project will transform 22,260 square feet of underutilized commercial space into 53 units of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless residents, as well as chronically homeless veterans. The development will feature four residental floors and on-site support services that include intervention, education and employment assistance, substance abuse and health treatment, after-school academic support and community activities.

Kaiser Permanente San Diego Earns Double LEED Platinum Certification

San Diego Medical Center’s environmentally-friendly design and operations become first double LEED Platinum hospital in the world

The Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center achieved LEED EBOM Platinum Certification in October 2019, making the facility the first double Platinum hospital listed on the US Green Building Council’s certified project directory.

Designed for cleaner, greener energy, the San Diego Medical Center uses cutting-edge technologies to produce its own electricity, heat, and cooling, create less greenhouse gases and save water. These innovations earned the San Diego medical Center its first LEED Platinum Certification for Building and Construction when it opened in 2017.
“Having LEED Platinum certifications in both Building Design and Construction and Existing Building Operations and Maintenance demonstrates Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to building and operating a sustainable environment of health,” said Jane Finley, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente San Diego. “Sustainability is an essential strategy of an organization like ours that is focused on improving the health of members, staff, and the entire community.”

LEED reduces cost streams associated with building operations, reduces environmental impacts, creates healthier and more productive employee workspaces, and provides public recognition for leadership in sustainability. To earn a LEED EBOM Platinum certification requires sustainable site management, innovative water and energy efficiency, responsible purchasing and waste management, and promoting a healthy indoor environment. This certification demonstrates the united efforts of several departments in the medical center staff including Environmental Health and Safety, Environmental Services, Purchasing, Information technology, and Engineering, along with Kaiser Permanente partners, UL’s advisory services and ARUP’s engineering expertise.

Highlights of the sustainable building operations include:

  • 29.10% reduction in conventional commuting trips.
  • Proactive indoor air quality testing.
  • Increased outdoor air ventilation at 30% above required levels.
  • 100% recycling rate of electronic waste.
  • 35.52% reduction of potable water use and a 39.76% reduction of process water use.
  •  ENERGY STAR certification with a score of 92.
  • Sustainable site characteristics including bio-retention swales for rainwater, use of native vegetation, cool roof, and Electric Vehicle charging stations.
  • Janitorial purchases UL Ecologo certified cleaning products, recycled paper goods, and CRI certified powered maintenance equipment.
  • Implemention of a fault-detection monitoring based ongoing commissioning program that includes elements of planning, system testing, performance verification, corrective action response, ongoing measurement, and documentation to proactively address equipment operating problems.
  • 100% of building energy usage has been offset with a combination of on-site and off-site renewable energy and carbon offsets.
Prevention & wellness

Kaiser Permanente San Diego is here to help you stay healthy and live your best life. There are many things you can do to take an active role in your prevention plan to stay healthy and thrive through all stages of life. Here’s a few to get you started.