HMO Makes Sure Agencies Get Health Care Resources Companies Best Charitable Giving Program (Large): Kaiser Permanente By SLAV KANDYBA Staff Reporter Every three years, Kaiser Permanente adjusts its Community Benefit Program, its philanthropic organ, to be in sync with the Health Needs Assessment done by the Valley Care Community Consortium. The needs assessment directs Kaiser to the holes that need to be patched. “We look at the needs of agencies and determine how to best implement our resources,” said Susan Ng, manager of community and government relations, who is based at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center. Kaiser, which has had a community benefit program since its founding more than 60 years, has granted a total of $313,000 to San Fernando Valley-based non-profit organizations providing some type of healthcare so far in 2004, said Kaiser spokesman Dan Rogan. Most of the grants were given to such organizations as Northeast Valley Health Corp., Valley Community Clinic and El Proyecto del Barrio all of which support provide various medical and social services. “We want to make sure that people who don’t have access to healthcare have access to these community organizations,” Ng said. “In addition to financial support, we do quite a bit of work with the agency providing expertise there’s a lot of resource and expertise sharing.” In addition to grants, Kaiser donates surplus medical and office equipment, as well as meeting space to non-profits; “hundreds” of employees, including physicians, volunteer in various community-based organizations, Ng said. Kaiser also has the Educational Theater Program for students in K-12, which is a traveling performance by a group of professional actors on health issues concerning children within that age group. For instance, there’s a skit called “Nightmare on Puberty Street,” Ng said. “It’s a great program and it’s part of our community benefit program,” Ng said. “Many of the schools in the San Fernando Valley book their shows annually. It doesn’t cost the schools any money.” With the example of the theater program, Ng said she wanted to point out that Kaiser is not about cut-and-dry community contribution. “We don’t just write a check, we roll up the sleeve and do some work with them,” Ng said.