April 24, 2014

What Is Partnership?
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What Is the Labor Management Partnership?

The Labor Management Partnership is Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Union's strategy for high performance. We use the Value Compass, which puts the member at the center of every decision, to guide efforts to improve service, the quality of care and eliminate waste that drives up costs. These achievements are created by unit-based teams that include frontline managers, workers and physicians working together to ensure each patient has the best possible experience. This team environment also makes KP a great place to work.

How does it work?

Partnership brings frontline managers, workers and physicians together to make full use of each individual's expertise. These different perspectives help to bring about solutions that address systemic issues. Frontline employees, who do the job every day, are able to offer innovative solutions to the problems at hand. Stewards and union team co-leads are evolving into work-unit leaders. Managers are moving away from directing work and into coaching and mentoring roles. Physicians are supported by all staff in providing high-quality, compassionate, patient-centered care. For members and patients, the entire care experience improves.

Unit-based teams

As of 2010, all employees represented by a Coalition union are working with managers and physicians in unit-based teams. A unit-based team, which includes all the members of a natural work group, focuses on improving performance in that area by finding efficiencies and better ways of doing day-to-day work. UBTs support regional business priorities.

“The UBTs unleash the knowledge of the workers.”

—Dr. Ben Chu, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, Southern California

Continuous improvement

Kaiser Permanente's historic mission and model of care – a unique system of high-quality, affordable care for working families – have served our members and communities well for more than 60 years. But modern health care is a constantly changing environment, requiring quick responses to competitive pressures, changing regulations and technological advances.

To ensure Kaiser Permanente is the future of health care and to safeguard our social mission, we focus every day on what is best for each member and patient. We're changing to meet the challenges we face. Every worker, manager and physician is thinking and working differently in his or her day-to-day job.

Unit-based teams use the Rapid Improvement Model, which gives teams an easy four-step process – Plan, Do, Study, Act – for testing small tests of change daily to improve performance. The goal? To do better tomorrow at what we did today.

Our model of integrated care and our shared focus on our members and patients is leading the way to a health care solution for our country.