Kaiser Permanente Moves to Expand After Financial ‘Turnaround’
To meet increasing service demands by new members, Kaiser Permanente is "cautiously" planning to hire more employees and build new medical facilities in the Santa Rosa and Sacramento areas, the East Bay Business Times reports. The move comes after Kaiser's "strong financial turnaround," which was fueled in part by an increase in membership. In Sonoma County, for example, membership rose 7% to 95,000 over the last several years, while in Sacramento, membership jumped 17% this year to 540,000.
Rate hikes also played a role in the company's turnaround, as Kaiser negotiated a 11.7% increase with CalPERS this year and a 9.9% increase in 2001. As part of new construction, Kaiser plans to open medical offices in Roseville, Folsom and Elk Grove by 2003, which will house pediatrics, ophthalmology, lab serives and obstetrics and gynecology. To staff the new facilities, 200 physicians and 800 support workers will be hired. In addition to new construction, Kaiser will renovate or seismically retrofit older hospitals in Vallejo, Los Angeles, Panorama City and Sacramento. While Kaiser reported operating income of $107 million on revenues of $4.3 billion in the third quarter, the not-for-profit company remains "wary" of undertaking long term projects, as it still is "in a financial turnaround." Kaiser spokesperson Tom Debley said, "I don't want to forecast too much, but we will be looking at projects over the course of the next two years. I expect we will see more capital projects as time goes on." Debley added, "I think it's not only a period where we are making future commitments to communities in California, it is a certain period where we are beginning to come out of the difficulties of the whole industry, especially in the 1990s" (Mladinich, East Bay Business Times, 11/13).