Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO George Halvorson Announces 2013 Retirement

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- George Halvorson, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente, announced to his employees today that he will retire in December 2013. Halvorson has served as chairman and CEO since 2002, and under his leadership Kaiser Permanente has grown to serve more than 9 million members, pioneered electronic health records and is often seen as a model for the future of health care.

Halvorson led the decision to implement Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, an enterprise-wide electronic health record system, a decade ago. Today, KP HealthConnect is the largest non-governmental system in the world, supporting the transformation of care delivery and connecting caregivers and patients in new and innovative ways. In the first six months of 2012, for example, members securely viewed 16.7 million laboratory results, exchanged 6.8 million emails with their Kaiser Permanente caregivers and refilled 5.6 million prescriptions online.

During Halvorson's tenure, Kaiser Permanente has become recognized as a national health care quality leader. Honors include:

  • Earning top ranking in the 2012-2013 National Committee for Quality Assurance Health Insurance rankings for Medicare and commercial HMO plans in each of the states Kaiser Permanente serves.
  • Leading the nation in many NCQA Quality Compass effectiveness of care measures, including breast cancer screening, weight assessment for children, cholesterol management, asthma care, osteoporosis management and comprehensive diabetes care.
  • Having 20 Kaiser Permanente hospitals recognized as "Top Performers on Key Quality Measures™" for 2011 performance by The Joint Commission.
  • Receiving five-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for five Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage plans in 2012.
  • Being ranked highest by J.D. Power and Associates for employer satisfaction nationwide, and five regions ranked highest in member satisfaction.

"Kaiser Permanente has been a great place to work for me," said Halvorson. "I have very much enjoyed the last decade. We have done a lot of good things and we continue to make progress in a lot of areas."

In the last decade, Kaiser Permanente has opened seven new state-of-the-art hospitals and 180 medical offices and other outpatient facilities, as well as The Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation Center in San Leandro, Calif. and the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington, D.C.

In addition, Halvorson championed public health efforts designed to improve the health of Kaiser Permanente members and the communities it serves. In 2011, the organization launched Every Body Walk! (http://www.everybodywalk.org) to inspire the nation to experience the health benefits of walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week. In 2012, Kaiser Permanente also joined with HBO, Institute of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to launch a national public health campaign to address the nation's rising obesity rates that includes the two-time Emmy nominated documentary series The Weight of the Nation (http://kp.org/weightofthenation).

Halvorson serves on the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care, the IOM Task Force on Making America a Learning Health Care Organization, the American Hospital Association's Advisory Committee on Health Reform, the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High-Performance Health System, and the New America Foundation Leadership Council. He serves on the boards of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, America's Health Insurance Plans, and the Alliance of Community Health Plans. Halvorson chairs the International Federation of Health Plans and co-chaired the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care for 2010. He is the 2012 social media chair for the Global Health Policy Forum. In 2009, he chaired the World Economic Forum's Health Governors meetings in Davos, Switzerland.

Earlier this year, Halvorson was named No. 6 on Modern Healthcare's annual 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare list. He has been named to each of Modern Healthcare's 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare lists since the program was created. He has received the Modern Healthcare/Health Information and Management Systems Society CEO IT Achievement Award. The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange also awarded him the 2009 Louis Sullivan Award for leadership and achievements in advancing health care quality.

Halvorson has written numerous books on improving and reforming health care, including Health Care Will Not Reform Itself: A User's Guide to Refocusing and Reforming American Health Care, Health Care Reform Now!, Health Care Co-ops in Uganda, Strong Medicine and Epidemic of Care.

During Halvorson's tenure at Kaiser Permanente, the organization was rated No. 1 in the country as an employer for diversity. Diversity MBA magazine gave Kaiser Permanente their best place to work award three straight times. The organization is also the first inductee into the Diversity MBA Hall of Fame. Kaiser Permanente was also rated No. 1 for diverse employees by Computerworld and won the Catalyst Award as a best place to work for women.

In addition, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recognized Kaiser Permanente's leadership. Kaiser Permanente also was named as one of the Best Companies for Latinas to Work in the United States. Kaiser Permanente was also named Corporation of the Year by the Hispanic College Fund. The organization has also been recognized as one of the top 50 companies for supplier diversity by Hispanic Enterprise Magazine.

DiversityInc ranked Kaiser Permanente as top health care organization on its list of top 50 companies for diversity. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has awarded Kaiser Permanente with a 100 percent rating each year for multiple years. The Minority Corporate Counsel Association also recognized Kaiser Permanente as the Employer of Choice in the Western Region.

"Kaiser Permanente has won multiple awards for the quality of our care and the service levels we provide. We are one of the most diverse work forces in health care. I believe our diversity has created an internal synergy that has helped us achieve those very high levels of performance," Halvorson said. "After leaving Kaiser Permanente, a major focus for me will be issues of diversity and intergroup interactions. We have done some very good things at Kaiser Permanente relative to diversity, and I am looking forward to helping people take advantage of the opportunities presented by diversity."

Halvorson serves on the Wall Street Journal Women in the Economy Task Force. He was recognized when Kaiser Permanente became the first inductee into the Diversity MBA Magazine Hall of Fame.

Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Halvorson was president and chief executive officer of HealthPartners, headquartered in Minneapolis, for nearly 18 years. With more than 30 years of health care management experience, he has also held several senior management positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Health Accord International.

Halvorson announced his retirement now — a full year prior to his departure — to ensure an effective transition to his successor. The Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan board of directors will now go through a process that will result in the selection of a successor as chair and CEO.

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, our mission is 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 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal 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. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.


Holly Potter, 510-435-2129, holly.potter@kp.org

Patrice L. Smith, 510-271-6813, patrice.l.smith@kp.org

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente