Kaiser Permanente Gives $341,000 to Support Community Health

Kaiser Permanente's community benefit department is providing grants to local nonprofits and programs in Hawaii.

Kaiser Permanente (No. 1 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) has announced its latest community benefit grant recipients, which will receive more than $341,000 in funding to serve communities, combat chronic disease and promote healthy habits throughout the state. In 2016 alone, Kaiser Permanente's community benefit department has provided more than $680,900 to local nonprofits and programs striving to improve health in Hawaii.


"Our grant recipients are our partners in health — committed to providing access, education and services with a particular focus on underserved and vulnerable communities," said Mary Ann Barnes, RN, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Hawaii Region. "We support their efforts to create healthier communities that place a strong emphasis on eating well, staying physically active and thriving in all aspects of life."

- Kapiolani Community College Culinary Institute of the Pacific received $70,000 to fund a health and wellness food truck project called "Cooking up a Rainbow." The food truck will enable the organization to provide outreach to more than 700 residents in low-income urban and rural communities, with the goal of reducing obesity through preventive health screenings and healthy cooking demonstrations. The project will also deliver 600 healthy school lunch meals to students from low- and moderate-income households, and sell an additional 8,000 healthy snacks and plate lunches on school campuses.

- YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program received $60,000 over two years to help adults at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes incorporate physical activity and weight loss into their lives. The program will enroll 58 participants in the first year, and 104 participants in the second year, aiming for an average weight loss of 4.5 percent per participant in order to reduce the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes.

- Shriners Hospital for Children received $50,000 toward the purchase of an EOS imaging machine, which provides 3D orthopedic imaging while reducing the patient's exposure to radiation. At least 2,100 children will benefit from exams that deliver 85 percent less radiation than standard X-ray machines.

- Boys & Girls Club of Maui received $35,010 to implement Improving Health & Fitness of Maui's Children, an after-school program for 2,000 youth from 20 Maui schools. The program incorporates Walking Classrooms, a physical activity component that uses podcasts to teach educational topics while students walk; and Nutrition Intuition, an interactive Q&A game that help youth learn to prepare healthy meals at home.

- American Cancer Society received $35,000 to provide transportation services to cancer patients in low-income, underserved and vulnerable communities, who have limited or no access to nearby treatment facilities. Approximately 650 cancer patients will receive transportation services, including interisland airfare, partial reimbursement for mainland cancer treatment flights, taxi service reimbursements, HandiVan vouchers and bus passes.

- Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii received $25,000 for Healthy Lifestyles Initiative, an after-school program for 1,500 Hawaii youth. The program includes Smart Moves, which seeks to prevent risky behaviors and encourage emotional health; and Triple Play Healthy Habits & Positive Action, which promotes physical fitness, nutrition education and healthy habits. The program will also engage families through activities and Ohana Nights.

- Honolulu Theater for Youth (HTY) received $25,000 to develop and perform two original theatrical productions, "Blue" and "Home." Both productions cultivate creativity and imagination while promoting positive behavioral health in preschool children. HTY will perform for more than 16,000 preschool children throughout the state, and hold interactive workshops at 10 public schools for students, teachers, staff and parents.

- Department of Native Hawaiian Health received $11,974 to convene a Native Hawaiian Health Improvement Task Force, in partnership with the Hawaii Department of Health and Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The task force will seek to address health disparities and reduce the social determinants (health education, housing, labor and other socioeconomic factors) that contribute to chronic disease in Native Hawaiians.

Kaiser Permanente Researchers Develop New Models for Predicting Suicide Risk

Approach may offer value to health systems and clinicians in targeting interventions to prevent suicide

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente.

Combining data from electronic health records with results from standardized depression questionnaires better predicts suicide risk in the 90 days following either mental health specialty or primary care outpatient visits, reports a team from the Mental Health Research Network, led by Kaiser Permanente research scientists.

The study, "Predicting Suicide Attempts and Suicide Death Following Outpatient Visits Using Electronic Health Records," conducted in five Kaiser Permanente regions (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, California and Washington), the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and the HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, was published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Combining a variety of information from the past five years of people's electronic health records and answers to questionnaires, the new models predicted suicide risk more accurately than before, according to the authors. The strongest predictors include prior suicide attempts, mental health and substance use diagnoses, medical diagnoses, psychiatric medications dispensed, inpatient or emergency room care, and scores on a standardized depression questionnaire.

Dr. Simon shares what inspired him to study mental health.

"We demonstrated that we can use electronic health record data in combination with other tools to accurately identify people at high risk for suicide attempt or suicide death," said first author Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH, a Kaiser Permanente psychiatrist in Washington and a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

In the 90 days following an office visit:

  • Suicide attempts and deaths among patients whose visits were in the highest 1 percent of predicted risk were 200 times more common than among those in the bottom half of predicted risk.
  • Patients with mental health specialty visits who had risk scores in the top 5 percent accounted for 43 percent of suicide attempts and 48 percent of suicide deaths.
  • Patients with primary care visits who had scores in the top 5 percent accounted for 48 percent of suicide attempts and 43 percent of suicide deaths.

This study builds on previous models in other health systems that used fewer potential predictors from patients' records. Using those models, people in the top 5 percent of risk accounted for only a quarter to a third of subsequent suicide attempts and deaths. More traditional suicide risk assessment, which relies on questionnaires or clinical interviews only, is even less accurate.

The new study involved seven large health systems serving a combined population of 8 million people in nine states. The research team examined almost 20 million visits by nearly 3 million people age 13 or older, including about 10.3 million mental health specialty visits and about 9.7 million primary care visits with mental health diagnoses. The researchers deleted information that could help identify individuals.

"It would be fair to say that the health systems in the Mental Health Research Network, which integrate care and coverage, are the best in the country for implementing suicide prevention programs," Dr. Simon said. "But we know we could do better. So several of our health systems, including Kaiser Permanente, are working to integrate prediction models into our existing processes for identifying and addressing suicide risk."

Suicide rates are increasing, with suicide accounting for nearly 45,000 deaths in the United States in 2016; 25 percent more than in 2000, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Other health systems can replicate this approach to risk stratification, according to Dr. Simon. Better prediction of suicide risk can inform decisions by health care providers and health systems. Such decisions include how often to follow up with patients, refer them for intensive treatment, reach out to them after missed or canceled appointments — and whether to help them create a personal safety plan and counsel them about reducing access to means of self-harm.