Membership Growth


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"Proud to Be Kaiser Permanente" CD

Video Packet: Proud to Be Kaiser Permanente

Format: Video packet includes one CD, plus an eye-cathing poster for your workspace that hilghlights many of the reasons Kaiser Permanente is a great place to work.

Intended audience: Frontline employees and managers

Best used: Show these videos at your next UBT or department meeting.

Minimum order: 1

KP and Union Growth

When people join Kaiser Permanente, good things happen. Kaiser Permanente and our unions gain strength and stability. Good jobs become more available and secure. More people in our communities benefit from KP’s affordable, quality care. That’s why the Labor Management Partnership helps spread the word on KP’s better model of care

From the Desk of Henrietta: Ambassadors at Large

Story body part 1: 

Today, maybe, you have a headache. Or your back hurts. Or you’ve come down with a case of the grumps and merely want to show up, do what you have to do, and roll on home at the appointed hour.

But you don’t.

Why? I suspect because in your heart of hearts, you know that every day, each of us is an ambassador for Kaiser Permanente—at work and away from work, too. And it’s important we represent the organization well.

On one level, this is self-serving: It helps ensure KP has a vibrant future and we continue to have the best jobs in health care.

On another level, it’s pretty cosmic. Given how big and well-known Kaiser Permanente has become, it’s easy to forget that our approach to health care upends U.S. norms. But as we succeed in delivering our brand of health care in this market, others take notice—and begin to adopt our methods. We have the power to revolutionize health care delivery for the benefit of everyone.

So it’s important that KP stay around, and we can do that only if we “grow membership”—by keeping the members we have and attracting new ones.

This issue of Hank explores how the Labor Management Partnership is helping to reach out and bring more members into the KP fold. It lays out how, at every level and layer of the organization, partnership motivates and enables people to step outside their traditional roles to act in ways that benefit us all.

Regardless of our particular job, we each have a part to play, every day, grumps or no grumps, in the work of helping Kaiser Permanente grow bigger and stronger. That means you. And that means me.


Puzzles and Games Answers (Fall 2015 Hank)


8.5" x 11" 

Intended audience:
Frontline workers, managers and physicians

Best used:
Find out the answers to the puzzles and games in the Fall 2015 issue of Hank


Word Match: Growing KP


8.5" x 11"

Intended audience:
Frontline workers, managers and physicians

Best used:
Use this word match as a way to break up a meeting with some fun while reinforcing partnership concepts.



How Partnership Helped KP Reach the 10 Million Member Milestone

Union leaders, unit-based teams and frontline workers help attract and retain KP members

Story body part 1: 

“I was almost devastated,” says Karen Cardosa, a grocery clerk in Albany, Oregon, “when UFCW told us they were no longer offering Kaiser Permanente as an insurance option.”

Cardosa and her family had been KP members for years through the union’s Local 555 Employers Health Trust. That changed when a variety of issues resulted in KP losing the account, which covered many Local 555 members. The union continued to represent nearly 2,000 Kaiser Permanente pharmacy and radiology employees, who—as KP staff members—continued to have KP health care.

But today, Kaiser Permanente is again an option for up to 15,000 UFCW members and dependents in the Northwest region who are covered by the health trust.

New way to compete

An affordable price, high quality, a new hospital, expanded clinics and a new billing system helped win back this account. But something else was also at play.

Thanks to the Labor Management Partnership, the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and Kaiser Permanente take a joint approach to winning and keeping health plan members that is almost unheard of elsewhere in this country.

Bringing together union members and KP sales and marketing teams, the campaign helped win, expand, win back or retain 33 accounts covering 125,000 KP members in 2014, with a focus on public-sector accounts.

A broad reach

The effort spans almost every level of the organization and the unions.

Leaders of the local and international unions that belong to the union coalition play an active role in advocating for KP as the preferred health care provider when negotiating contracts or benefit programs with employers.

In addition, some 45 frontline union ambassadors spoke to 25,000 KP members and potential members at outside union and community events in 2014. “I have enjoyed working side by side with the sales and marketing representatives to promote Kaiser Permanente,” says Sera Jordan, a medical assistant, union ambassador and SEIU Local 49 member in the Northwest. “It has enabled me to share my firsthand knowledge of Kaiser Permanente and the care we provide.”

UBTs are a selling point

And unit-based teams, by giving frontline workers a voice in improving quality, service and affordability, are a big selling point for union purchasers of care. UBTs launched more than 8,000 performance improvement projects last year at every point on the KP Value Compass, including thousands of affordability projects that saved, on average, more than $40,000 per project.

“Working with our union partners, we’ve been able to come to the table with customer solutions that meet everybody’s needs—including the unions that aren’t part of KP, who have tremendous influence in purchase decisions,” says Kate Kessler, a Member Sales and Service Administration director. “We are unique in having a strong labor partnership in our own business, and we can speak that language.”

Find out why record membership matters to our current and future members on InsideKP.

'One and Done'—It's the Super UBT

Faster than a speeding billing question, more powerful than a local center, able to resolve member needs in a single call!

Story body part 1: 

The dread is familiar: You have a question or a problem, and you need to call a service center to get the matter cleared up. Will the issue be fixed quickly? Or will the call be transferred from one person to the next—to the next—to the next?

As the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act approached, Kaiser Permanente’s Customer & Member Services team knew that it didn’t want the thousands of new members joining KP to have that sort of frustrating experience. Just the year before, C&MS’ Member Service Contact Centers (MSCC) had been swamped by three times as many calls as expected. That had led to many handoffs to Membership Administration, which works with the MSCC customer service representatives to get questions answered. 

And so the first-ever “super unit-based team” sprang into action in September 2014. Its mission: To combat long wait times and better handle the anticipated surge in calls that would come with open enrollment.

What made it “super” was that it transcended locations and time zones, bringing together on a single team representatives from across the country—from the MSCCs in Denver, Colorado; Fulton, Maryland; and Corona, California, and from Membership Administration in Denver and San Diego. In the past, an individual UBT at one of the centers might develop a good practice, but it was left largely to chance that other centers would learn of it and follow suit. But under the umbrella of the Open Enrollment 2015 Readiness Initiative, 29 frontline and managers, supported by regional and national leaders, took a fresh approach to testing initiatives and spreading best practices.

Unifying approach

The combined team helps everyone operate as one team instead of separate entities, says Deashimikia Williams, a customer service representative at MSCC-Fulton and an OPEIU Local 2 member.

The collaborative effort was important because members don’t distinguish between different centers or different divisions. “They see us as One KP,” says Marie Monrad, vice president of strategy and operations for the Office of Labor Management Partnership, “and with this, we are doing performance improvement as One KP.”

The Super UBT’s biggest success so far is known as “one and done”—meaning that the member’s question is taken care of by the representative who picks up the phone. Before, a member’s request to stop an online payment, for example, might have taken up to a half-dozen calls. But with the introduction of the one and done process, the MSCCs were able to reduce the number of handoffs by 60 percent from January 2014 to January 2015.

The secret to success was looking to the customer service representatives for answers, says Jerry Coy, senior vice president of Customer & Member Services. “We asked the people who actually take the calls, ‘What questions are members asking?’ and ‘What would make your job easier?’” he says. “We are the front door to KP. We welcome the members and want them to be a member for life.”

“All of this work is in line with the Labor Management Partnership’s commitment to grow and maintain membership for KP,” notes Janelle Williams, consultant specialist for frontline engagement and growth. 

Answering calls from all over

The call centers that participate in the Super UBT answer the majority of KP member calls from the entire organization, fielding questions on a range of topics from billing to details of the health plan to helping members who haven’t received their membership cards.

Super UBT members received additional education and created a rapid resolution team within Membership Administration. While the representative stays on the phone with the member, he or she can consult with specialists via Lotus Notes SameTime chats or by opening another line. From mid-January through early March, the MSCCS handled nearly 5,400 calls—and more than 5,000 of them were successful rapid resolution calls, with the members helped in a single interaction. In addition, through staffing changes, operational improvements, and the implementation of the rapid resolution team, Membership Administration has reduced mean processing time for member issues from 26 days in January 2014 to three days in January 2015.

While Kaiser Permanente members benefit from the work, the frontline staff members benefit, too.

“We have a better understanding about the changes in different regions,” says Deashimikia Williams, who is the Fulton UBT’s labor co-lead. “Before the Super UBT, it was hard to get everybody engaged. Being engulfed in this work motivated us.”

LaDondra Hancock, senior account administration representative for Membership Administration in San Diego, also says the initiatives started by the Super UBT have improved the way she and her teammates work. “It has lessened the calls we get in from the different Member Services Contact Centers,” says Hancock, who serves as her local team’s labor co-lead and is a member of OPEIU Local 30.

Model practices

The success of this collective effort provides a model for other teams and departments looking to share and spread best practices, and underscores the importance of reaching out to other teams doing the same or similar work.

“Not only is this work of the Super UBT critically important for improving the member experience,” Monrad says, “but it also shows that it is critically important to test, model and explore new ways to bring improvement through our partnership that cuts across not only multiple regions, but multiple unions and multiple functions.”


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