Richard S. Isaacs to Assume New Roles at Kaiser Permanente

Isaacs has accepted the roles of Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group and President and CEO of Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group. 

Kaiser Permanente is No. 2 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list


Richard S. Isaacs, M.D.

The Permanente Medical Group and Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group announced that Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, will officially assume the roles of executive director and CEO of TPMG and president and CEO of MAPMG on June 1, 2017.

TPMG and MAPMG are two of the largest and most distinguished medical groups in the nation, with more than 10,000 Permanente physicians delivering high-quality health care to nearly 5 million Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California, Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.

Dr. Isaacs will succeed Robert Pearl, MD, who has served as executive director and CEO for TPMG and president and CEO for MAPMG. He will also succeed Dr. Pearl as co-CEO of the National Permanente Executive Committee of The Permanente Federation.

"It will be a tremendous honor to assume the role of CEO with both The Permanente Medical Group and the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group and to succeed Dr. Pearl, who has led our organizations so successfully," said Dr. Isaacs. "As we look to the future, I am excited about the opportunity to work with our incredible physicians and staff to build on our exceptional foundation and to challenge ourselves to enhance our world-class care in a continually changing health care environment."

Dr. Isaacs has served as physician in chief for the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center since 2005. In this role, he has been responsible for all clinical operations throughout the inpatient and outpatient arenas.

As physician in chief, Dr. Isaacs played a critical leadership role in helping his medical staff pioneer several innovative initiatives that were ultimately adopted by Kaiser Permanente nationwide, including the implementation of Kaiser Permanente's electronic medical record. In 2008, Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center became the first Level II trauma center within Kaiser Permanente. More recently, the area's collaborative Greater Sacramento Sports Medicine program has expanded to provide expert care to regional and professional athletes.

Prior to becoming physician in chief, Dr. Isaacs served as The Permanente Medical Group's chair of the Regional Chiefs' Group for Head and Neck Surgery and chief of the Department of Head and Neck Surgery for Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento.

Born and raised in Detroit, Dr. Isaacs received his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in that city. He completed his Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery training in New York at the Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital/New York Hospital-Cornell Medical College/Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Subsequently, he received his Head and Neck Oncologic and Skull Base Surgical training from the University of California, Davis. He joined The Permanente Medical Group following the completion of his surgical training in 1995. He is board certified in Otolaryngology with advanced certification in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery, is a fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Isaacs, who has published several articles in national publications, is actively involved in medical education and has served as a clinical professor of Otolaryngology at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Drexel University School of Medicine and California Northstate University School of Medicine.

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.