Kaiser Permanente Names Minnesota-based HealthPartners Executive Halvorson As New Chair and CEO
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals yesterday named George Halvorson, the president and CEO of Minneapolis-based HealthPartners, as its new chair and CEO, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The move will be a "step up" for Halvorson, as HealthPartners operates solely in Minnesota and has fewer than one million members, while Kaiser has a "huge network" of 29 medical centers and more than 8 million enrollees nationwide. The Chronicle reports that Halvorson is taking control of Kaiser Permanente at a "particularly turbulent time" in the health care industry, with many plans forced to raise premiums to offset rising prescription drug and medical costs, increasing use of services and an aging patient population (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/8). The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that during his tenure with HealthPartners, Halvorson has been an advocate of developing ways to gauge the quality of care so patients can be "more knowledgeable shoppers" of health services (Majeski, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 3/8). However, one of the greatest challenges facing Halvorson will be to provide quality care amid increasing medical costs, the Los Angeles Times reports. "There are immense opportunities [for savings] in the management of preventive care and chronic care in California," Halvorson said. "We can model for the world an optimal delivery system for medical care," he added. Part of his plan for Kaiser is to incorporate new technology, which can prevent even more costly emergency care. During his tenure at HealthPartners, for example, the plan incorporated an electronic scale that notifies physicians if a patient has a sudden increase in weight gain (White, Los Angeles Times, 3/8). Halvorson replaces David Lawrence, who plans to retire at the end of this year. Halvorson will start with Kaiser May 1 (Rundle, Wall Street Journal, 3/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.