Bernard J. Tyson is the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals ,known as Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading integrated health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. With an annual operating revenue of nearly $65 billion, Kaiser Permanente serves 11.7 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia.
Tyson assumed the role of chairman in January 2014 and has served as CEO since 2013. His career at Kaiser Permanente has spanned more than 30 years. During that time, Tyson has successfully managed all major aspects of the organization, serving in roles from hospital administrator to division president-to-president and chief operating officer of the Oakland, California-based health care organization.
“Bernard J. Tyson is one of the leading authorities on public health in America. He is smart, gifted, thoughtful and a highly respected voice in the struggle to make high-quality health care affordable for every American,” wrote Civil Rights icon and U.S. House representative John Lewis, for the recently published 2017 TIME Magazine 100 most influential people in the world of which Tyson was one of the 100.
Tyson recently paid a visit to the construction site of one of Kaiser’s latest projects, a 90-million-dollar state of the art, four-story medical office building on Martin Luther King Blvd., in South L.A.,, creating jobs and opportunity in a evolving Baldwin Villa neighborhood once called “Jungles”. He shared his thoughts about the vision. “It’s all about seeing our medical centers not just for our members but also for our communities and really making sure we are really creating an environment that demonstrates what we mean when we talk about total health.
Welcoming everybody from that community into that environment where they can learn about healthy eating, about active living, [where] they can buy fresh food and vegetables. It’s a whole concept that really speaks to not creating a medical center where people come and go, but rather they wanting to linger and want to spend time better understanding how they can better improve their health.”
As part of the “total health” concept, Kaiser wanted community-based hiring and the project to create jobs for the surrounding community. As Tyson pulled up, he and his staff waited with excitement and anticipation to view the progress of the site. Tyson expressed his approval by stating his thoughts, “it was a rainbow coalition, not the one or two like we often see. It was clearly an integrated group of qualified individuals making a major contribution and it was beautiful to see. And it started when I pulled up it was seen all through as opposed to who was actually asked to come to be a part of this audience. I’ve already seen that. So to see men and women of color especially doing this kind work, to see it all happen is a beautiful thing.”
The site visits also included greetings and words of progress from Kimani Black, deputy for Office of Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson. The facility will sit in Wesson’s district on some of the Marlton Square property, a revitalization process the community is happy to see happen.
Turner Construction is handling the contract and out sourced many of the construction jobs to 2nd Call, a community gang prevention and self-improvement organization. According to Noah Boro, Turner Construction superintendent, over 40,000 hours was allocated to new hires who lived within the community. Tyson applauded the work of Turner and 2nd Call by stating, “I’m so pleased to see the make-up of the group. You’re doing the right thing.”
Kaiser’s goal is health transformation, specifically the evolution and innovation of health programs, processes, and technologies that allow them to effectively meet patients’ health needs. Tyson believes Kaiser Permanente’s combination of prevention, innovation and integration can serve as the model for health care in America. The new South Los Angeles medical center is set to open this summer.