Washington Business Journal: Kaiser Permanente’s New Capitol Hill Urgent Care Center

Health Care

Kaiser Permanente multitasking on Capitol Hill

Washington Business Journal – by Ben Fischer

Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 1:41pm EDT

A meeting space available in Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Total Health.

  • Ben Fischer
  • Reporter
  • Email: benfischer

About 100 physicians are treating patients right now in Kaiser Permanente’s three-month-old clinic in the Station Place complex near Union Station. But the nonprofit giant hopes to do a little politicking while it’s at it.

Kaiser intends to build four more similar multi-specialty clinics in the mid-Atlantic region by 2013. And it’s no coincidence that its starting point is 700 2nd St. NE, just seven blocks from the U.S. Capitol — where health care gets discussed from time to time.

During a tour Tuesday, Kaiser executives spoke frankly about how they will use the Capitol Hill Medical Center as a sales tool, in hopes of cutting into competitors’ market share and to get the attention of the VIPs who live, debate, legislate and regulate nearby.

Kaiser spent $200 million on the center, which includes new high-end IT capabilities such as video connections that allow primary-care doctors to consult with a specialist during a patient visit. That isn’t possible yet anywhere else outside of its home turf in Northern California.

“That’s the beauty of being here,” said Robert Pearl, CEO of the Permanente Medical Group. “This is the nation’s capital. People fly in from around the world, people come here from across the country, and this is an opportunity to understand what’s possible.”

Key to the effort is the Center for Total Health, a 16,000-square-foot, swank public relations space adjacent to the 200,000-square-foot clinic. It features displays of Kaiser’s latest health information technology gadgets, like a hand-held sonogram machine, and includes large video walls with wellness and fitness tips.

Kaiser enlisted help from an outside PR agency to lure visitors on Tuesday, and “quite a few folks from the government” attended a VIP cocktail hour later in the day, said Chief Information Officer Phil Fasano.

But, he said, “I don’t think we created it specifically to influence federal policy. I think what we created it for was to really have an opportunity for people to consider the industry through another lens, and to really have a conversation about what the new future might be.”

Kaiser declined to break out the cost of the Center for Total Health from its overall $200 million figure.

Kevin Wrege, Esq.

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

Office: 202-625-1787

Mobile: 202-253-4929

4410 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150

Washington, DC 20016

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