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Kaiser Permanente is an integrated health care organization which is based in Oakland, California, founded in the year 1945 by an industrialist Henry J. Kaiser and a physician Sidney R. Garfield. Kaiser Permanente is an association of three distinct entities groups; the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and its regional operating organizations, the Permanente Medical Groups and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. As of 2006, Kaiser Permanente is operated in 9 states as well as in Washington, D.C., and this is the largest managed care organization in America. Kaiser Permanente has millions of health plan members, with thousands of employees, physicians, medical centers and medical offices with annual operating revenues earned in billions and a net income of $1.3 billion. The Health Plan and Hospitals operated under the state and federal not-for-profit tax status, while the Medical Groups are operate under professional corporations and for-profit partnerships in their individual regions.

Kaiser Permanente started at the height of the great depression with just one inventive young surgeon and a twelve bed hospital in the middle of Mojave Desert. When MD of Kaiser Permanente saw thousands of men occupied in building the Los Angeles Aqueduct, he also saw something else; a chance to offer health care for these working men. He borrowed money to construct Contractors General Hospital; six miles away from the tiny town called Desert Center and began to treat injured and sick workers. But the difficult part was financing and Dr. Garfield faced trouble obtaining the insurance companies to pay for his bills on time. And though not all of the workers had insurances, he refused to turn away any injured or sick workers. As a result, he was often not paid for his services and it wasn't long before the hospital's operating expenses were far greater than its income.

Today Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals has a single Board of Directors which is considered to be the ultimate governing body for Kaiser. The chairman of the Board is George C. Halvorson and he is the chief executive officer of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals. In this capacity, Mr. Halvorson is occasionally referred to as the CEO and chairman of Kaiser Permanente, even though he is not the director for any of the Permanente Medical Group boards or any of those organizations. C .Halvorson leads a national leadership team which manages hospital operations and health plans across all the Kaiser Permanente regions. The Board of Directors at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospital consists of fourteen members including Mr. Halvorson. Now Kaiser Permanente is administered through eight regions, this include one parent and five subordinate health plan entities with one hospital entity and nine separate affiliated medical groups.

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