LMP Focus Areas

Workforce of the Future

UBT Sponsors Work the Wow Factor

Deborah Royalty, Medical Group Administrator, South Sacramento

The Affordable Care Act makes unit-based teams more important than ever

If people understand why we’re asking them to do certain things, they are more likely to help find solutions. That’s why unit-based teams, and their sponsors, must understand the implications of the Affordable Care Act to lead meaningful change.

The ACA is producing unprecedented changes in the marketplace. It is opening up health care to people who had little or no access to routine care before, and giving them choices they never had before. But for many, the choice will come down to dollars and cents—which means Kaiser Permanente needs to do two things, in partnership:

First, to attract new members, we have to offer competitive rates. Then, we have to wow them when they call or visit—especially the first time they call or visit

Know your role

As UBT sponsors, we have to ask ourselves: How are we going to do an awesome job of caring for patients and being the most affordable if our team doesn’t understand the impact it can have and isn’t involved in helping find solutions?

We need to understand what our role is in helping teams improve service and efficiency. If we, as sponsors, recognize that unit-based teams give Kaiser Permanente a competitive advantage and a way to drive change, and we provide the support for that work, we’ll largely have succeeded in our role.

Work with your team

When a manager or sponsor comes to me with an issue or area for improvement, one of the first things I ask is: Are you working with your UBT on this? If not, I ask them to try again—because becoming more efficient, cost-effective and member-centered doesn’t happen just in the administrative suite. It happens with the frontline staff and physicians. If sponsors, leaders and managers look to UBTs and their expertise, it will lead to solutions.

Sponsors and leaders also need to ask themselves: Have we figured out what resources the UBTs need to get the work done? Do they need the time, the meeting space, and a facilitator?

UBTs are only as good as the leaders who invest in them. We have more compelling reasons now than ever to leverage the partnership. If team members understand those reasons and are given direction and support by their sponsors, there is no limit to what we can do to help Kaiser Permanente continue to lead in this time of change.

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