Kaiser Permanente, Leading the Way for Mothers
Kaiser Permanente works collaboratively to improve the quality of health and the lives of its members and the communities it serves. To reduce disparities in healthcare and honor its mission to improve the health of the communities it serves, Kaiser Permanente Southern California provides support for community clinics, public hospitals, and local health departments.
It was in this spirit that Kaiser Permanente Southern California awarded $2 million to expand the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital labor and delivery department. By supporting the Healthy Babies, Healthy Beginnings funding initiative, Kaiser Permanente helps to bring high-quality maternity care to 1.2 million residents of South Los Angeles and surrounding communities.
“We believe healthy beginnings lead to healthy babies,” says Georgina R. Garcia, RN, executive director, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. “Our commitment helps lay the foundation for a great start for babies and their moms.”
Guided by Personal Experience
Garcia oversees the daily operations of Kaiser Permanente’s 305-bed West Los Angeles hospital and its 2,500 hospital and health plan employees. She also serves on the MLKCH board of directors. She explains why volunteering in the community is so important to her:
“Our safety-net partners like MLKCH do some of the hardest work, serving on the front lines of care for our neediest and most vulnerable populations,” says Garcia. “These partners set a powerful example of how to care for our diverse communities by addressing the medical and socio-economic needs of the community residents.”
Garcia knows what it’s like to live in one of these communities. “I went through that in my young life when my family first immigrated to this country from Cuba,” she says. “I have experienced firsthand what it is to live in an underserved and low-income community, to be uninsured, and not know where to turn if something happens to you.”
“My experiences serve as a constant reminder of why it's so important to support community clinics and hospitals,” Garcia continues. “It’s what drives me to do the meaningful work that we do every day. Seeing the direct impact of our efforts is not only rewarding, it’s also paramount to the Kaiser Permanente mission.”
“Our safety-net partners like MLKCH do some of the hardest work, serving on the front lines of care for our neediest and most vulnerable populations.”—Georgina R. Garcia, RN, MS
Much More than Financial Assistance
“It has been a wonderful and meaningful experience to share Kaiser Permanente’s best practices, and to leverage our healthcare expertise and knowledge to significantly enhance the maternity services,” says Garcia.
She also points out the truly collaborative nature of the partnership, not only between Kaiser Permanente and the hospital, but also within Kaiser Permanente. “Multiple departments contributed to the formation of this new facility, such as advising on how to structure the building to implementing the most innovative technology inside it and facilitating the most incredible healthcare outcomes and service,” she says.
“Whether it's through protocol sharing, offering technical assistance, or drawing from our own successes to make quality improvements, it is part of our mission to share our resources and best practices to bridge healthcare access gaps and improve community health.”
Garcia adds: “Our new partnership with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital exemplifies the power of partnership in promoting the health of our underserved communities and will bring high-quality healthcare to one of the most impoverished areas of Southern California. We are committed to making this hospital successful.”
Kaiser Permanente, recognized as one of America’s leading healthcare providers and not-for-profit health plans, currently serves more than 3.7 million members in southern California. First established in California in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has medical centers and medical office buildings in seven regions throughout the United States.
The Kaiser Permanente award to MLKCH is under the umbrella of Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit program, established to help support clinics, public health departments, public hospitals, and other agencies.