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Physicians Extend Their Reach Beyond the Office

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, October 25, 2012

Enlisting physician involvement "has not been a challenge, whatsoever," Loftus says. And the numbers prove it: After a call for physician volunteers to partner with schools, 130 doctors agreed to participate in a 10-day period, Loftus says. 

"This resonates with our doctors," she adds. They have organized games, "dodge ball; red light, green light. And we usually get a little bit of healthy eating there; we don't go to the ice cream stand. We say, ‘Here's some fruit.'"

Kaiser Permanente wants its patients to lose weight, exercise, and eat better. After all, it referenced studies that more than 33% of children and adolescents and about 65% of all adults are overweight or obese.

Despite its efforts, KP acknowledges that there are demographic, educational, and poverty issues within the communities it serves. Kaiser Permanente found it was important to coordinate programs with the community because, well, that's in fact where the people live, to open the possibility for recreational opportunities," Loftus says.

Kaiser Permanente's Mid-Atlantic States region includes a variety of programs to engage people and community around improving health. Nearly $40 million is directed to charitable care and coverage, including a medical care for children program that impacts 8,500 vulnerable residents.

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