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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Kaiser Permanente

 
 
Kaiser Permanente Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, September 25, 2020
1. Kaiser Permanente Marker
Inscription.  

A New Kind of Health Plan

In the 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression, a young surgeon named Sidney Garfield operated a small 12-bed hospital in the Mojave Desert, treating the thousands of laborers working on the Colorado River Aqueduct. Garfield refused to turn anyone away and found himself continually in the red. Many of the workers did not have insurance or were covered by insurance companies who were slow to reimburse. This changed when engineer-turned-insurance agent Harold Hatch befriended Dr. Garfield and proposed the novel idea of paying some of its workers' compensation premium back to Dr. Garfield to care for job-related injuries. The two men completed the equation by offering a voluntary nonindustrial health plan for another five cents per day. Prepayment survives as one of the fundamental components of the Kaiser Permanente health plan, inverting the conventional model of medical economics by favoring prevention over treatment.

Impressed with Garfield's system, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser solicited the doctor to give pre-paid care to the 6,500 laborers, and their families,
Kaiser Permanente Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, September 25, 2020
2. Kaiser Permanente Marker
working on the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state. During World War II, this coverage was expanded to the 30,000 (90,000 by the end of the war) working in Kaiser shipyards all over the West.

On July 21, 1945, the Permanente Health Plan was opened to the public and within 10 years enrollment reached 300,000. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Retail Clerks Union led the drive to bring the Permanente Foundation Health plan to Los Angeles. Many other local unions soon joined Permanente Health Plan.

A Kaiser Hospital Comes to East Hollywood

In November 1951, the nonprofit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals broke ground for a new cutting-edge facility in East Hollywood. The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by some of the most high-profile real estate developers, labor leaders, politicians, and hospital administrators in Los Angeles, including representatives from Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, and Methodist Hospital.

Working closely with Dr. Garfield, the Portland firm of Wolff and Phillips designed the doctor's “dream" hospital to include the most cutting edge technology in the medical field. Costing the princely sum of $3 million, general contractor C.L. Peck and his crew went to work on the futuristic facility. On
Kaiser Permanente Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, September 25, 2020
3. Kaiser Permanente Marker
June 17, 1953, representatives of the local unions who were part of Permanente Health Plan attended the grand opening. “The use of labor-saving devices, the use of light (both natural and artificial), the furnishings, the gadgets, the décor, and the personnel are all combined to make the new Kaiser foundation Hospital something special,” Chet Huntley exclaimed in an ABC radio broadcast.

A Wealth of Innovations

Kaiser Foundation Hospital was in good hands with Dr. Raymond Kay as the first medical director, and Dorothea A. Daniels as director of nursing. The two oversaw the state-of-the-art 224-bed facility. Its innovations included exterior walkways that visitors used to enter a patient’s room. This allowed the interior halls to be kept clear for hospital personnel and patients. Garfield’s design also called for multiple nursing stations per floor (instead of just one) and patient rooms with individual bathrooms providing hot, cold, and iced water. In the maternity ward there were soundproof, private nurseries behind every new mother's room. "The baby's bassinet of plastic rests in a steel drawer built into the wall between the room and nursery," a Los Angeles Times article explained. "To bring the baby to the mother, she or a nurse need only pull out the bassinet. It's as easy as opening a drawer."

With the addition of
Kaiser Permanente Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, September 25, 2020
4. Kaiser Permanente Marker
the Kaiser Foundation Hospital, East Hollywood was solidified as one of the most important and innovative medical hubs in Southern California. Today, the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center has 528 staffed beds and is a major teaching institution.
 
Erected by City of Los Angeles.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & CommerceScience & Medicine.
 
Location. 34° 5.895′ N, 118° 17.629′ W. Marker is in Los Angeles, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and L Ron Hubbard Way, on the right when traveling west on Sunset Boulevard. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4867 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90027, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hollyhock House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hooray for Hollywood (approx. 0.4 miles away); El Pueblo de Los Angeles (approx. half a mile away); A Gabrielino Indian Site (approx. 1.1 miles away); Ennis House (approx. 1.2 miles away); Warner Brothers Studio (approx. 1.3 miles away); Disney Studio Site (approx. 1.4 miles away); James Dean (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Los Angeles.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Contractors General Hospital
Kaiser Permanente Hospital and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, September 25, 2020
5. Kaiser Permanente Hospital and Marker
- California Historical Landmark No. 992
 
Also see . . .  Angels Walk L.A. Self-guided walking tours of historic neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The Kaiser Permanente marker is part of the East Hollywood walk. (Submitted on October 17, 2020.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Kaiser
I was born here in 1960, and forty years later I worked on the demolition of the original building.
    — Submitted October 18, 2020, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.
 
Original Hospital Building image. Click for full size.
Kaiser Permanente Archives, circa 1953
6. Original Hospital Building
High-tech “drawer” bassinet image. Click for full size.
Kaiser Permanente Archives, circa 1953
7. High-tech “drawer” bassinet
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2020. This page has been viewed 56 times since then. Last updated on October 18, 2020, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 17, 2020, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.   7. submitted on October 18, 2020, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Nov. 26, 2020