Best Health Care: Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma


“We are forward-thinking, even in how we design our electronic medical records systems to enable that progression of care, which allows our providers and physicians to plan accordingly and have that full perspective.”—Tarek Salaway, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma

Kaiser Permanente’s goal for each of its members is to live a long, healthy and thriving life. Tarek Salaway, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma, says the concept of Thrive relates with meeting people where they’re at and helping them live their best lives. It also means helping them make positive choices regarding their health and well-being, mental health, eating right, as well as taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings in Marin and Sonoma counties. “Well-being is at the heart of what we do at Kaiser Permanente,” says Salaway. And it shows. This is the 12th time Kaiser Permanente has won Best Health Care in NorthBay biz magazine’s BEST OF readers’ poll.

Kaiser Permanente’s programs encompass physical and mental health, and social drivers of health in the community as part of its mission. “Because we are committed to the entire community, it means that we work hard around inequity in the community,” says Salaway. Part of Kaiser Permanente’s mission is to understand what equity means from different cultural backgrounds, the impact of climate change and conditions of poverty, and how certain zip codes predispose people to certain health outcomes. “If there are disparities in health-care outcomes that are driven by the social determinants of health—meaning employment, the environment, clean water, access to education, [then] Thrive also means addressing those determinants of health,” says Salaway.

Kaiser Permanente boasts about 322,705 members in Marin and Sonoma counties. It raises the bar when it comes to taking a proactive approach with patients’ health-care needs, making sure they follow up with all of the doctor’s appointments and providing them with comprehensive services, including specialty care, mental health, health education classes, support groups and a 24/7 nurses hotline. Kaiser Permanente’s goal is to earn the relationship with its patients over their lifetime, says Salaway—to anticipate their needs and to use the data and information Kaiser Permanente has about population health to help patients progress.

The staff at Kaiser Permanente is committed to providing the highest quality and affordable health-care services to improve the health and well-being of the communities it serves. An example of this is the pandemic, and the 2017, 2019 and 2020 wildfires. Kaiser Permanente remained committed to helping the community rebuild itself and to helping it thrive.

“We are forward-thinking, even in how we design our electronic medical records systems to enable that progression of care, which allows our providers and physicians to plan accordingly and have that full perspective,” says Salaway. “We also are well-known for our work around prevention and early detection. That’s the concept of Thrive: to prevent disease where we can, which means we deploy several systems of care resources for detection, treatment and healing.” He adds that patients find their electronic systems user-friendly, with intelligent programming to send reminders to update patients on preventative care.

As for the future, Salaway says one of the organization’s goals is offering community nonprofits a technology platform powered by Unite Us, which involves working with nonprofits and social service agencies to better coordinate the care of community members with unmet social, non-medical needs, such as food insecurity. “We are focused on building this community network over the course of the coming year,” says Salaway. Kaiser Permanente does this through its commitment to helping low-income and older adults, ensuring they have the best opportunity to live a long and healthy life. Salaway also looks forward to developing Kaiser Permanente’s clinical services at its medical centers, as well as its various health programs within the community.

[Photo courtesy of Kaiser Permanente]

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