RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Meet Bill Caswell, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
  • We are strongly positioned to build the right talent and make the necessary strategic investment to continue our industry leading position.
  • Kaiser Permanente offers tremendous latitude in testing boundaries and building for the future.
  • Kaiser Permanente is a company of head and heart.


QUESTION: Tell us about your role and responsibilities at Kaiser Permanente.

BILL CASWELL: My role at Kaiser Permanente is unique in that it has three distinct dimensions. First, I serve as the Chief Operating Officer over eight medical centers in a region that serves more than 4.6 million members in Southern California. It’s so motivating to enable our teams to deliver high-quality affordable care across the care continuum. I have a great team who serve as both hospital and health plan executives. They are affecting change in both the healthcare setting and in the community; allowing more individuals to be well and thrive.

Second, as a senior executive for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, I understand the importance of consumerism. Therefore, my focus is to bring the voice of the customer into Kaiser Permanente while building relationships with purchasers, consultants and business influencers.

The third dimension of my role is focused on strategy and advancing how Kaiser Permanente will position itself for the long term – both care and coverage. This allows me to pursue amazing projects designed to transform healthcare. I feel I have the best job at Kaiser Permanente!

If I, or my team, see that we could be doing something differently, I support them in challenging the rules - to test our boundaries. In fact, I will look to my team and say, "let’s design something new that will take us to a better place."

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?

BC: As a leader, I strive to build a culture of interdependence; respecting and empowering each leader to reach his or her full potential. In partnership with Southern California Permanente Medical Group, I lead focused on OneKP; providing outstanding care to every patient, every time, at every Kaiser Permanente facility. Although my office is in Pasadena, you’ll often see me there only a day or two a week. Most of my time is spent out in the field developing and coaching my teams. When there is a success, the spotlight needs to be on them. Good things happen because good people make them happen. I pride myself in challenging and bringing the best thinking in others.

Kaiser Permanente doesn’t lack for a spirit and culture of innovation. If I, or my team, see that we could be doing something differently, I support them in challenging the rules - to test our boundaries. In fact, I will look to my team and say, “let’s design something new that will take us to a better place.”

Q: How is the organization preparing for the healthcare of the future?

BC: The competition is more accomplished and faster-to-market than ever - and what was considered groundbreaking yesterday is table stakes today. In many ways, healthcare will continue to be local. Yet, we have entered the “Amazon era of consumerism.” Patient service/ experience demands are greater than ever. As a leader, I’ve had to heighten my listening, engage with urgency and drive for action to seize market opportunities. At Kaiser Permanente, we are strongly positioned to build the right talent and make the necessary strategic investment to continue our industry leading position.

Q: Can you tell us about recent advancements at Kaiser Permanente that you’d like to share?

BC: We’ve recently introduced Kaiser Permanente in retail clinics through a strategic partnership with Target and CVS. By the end of 2020, we will have opened 35 Target clinics ”…powered by Kaiser Permanente” in Southern California. These clinics are open to ALL—not just Kaiser Permanente members, as part of our high quality, easy access, affordable care strategy.

We are also actively pursuing breakthrough collaboration opportunities with community hospitals. Whereas our history was to build our own, the times have changed. As we enter new markets, we are creating new partnerships – where our vision and business objectives are aligned. From clinical best practices to technology connectivity, we are able to replicate our integrated model. It’s a win-win.

Q: What motivates you about your job?

BC: From an early age, I always knew my life’s work would couple medicine and business. My career journey has been just that. I consider myself lucky to have had roles in healthcare business, clinical care and health plans.

I delight in what I do. My leadership style and life centers around relationships. I value coming to work with great people who are trying to make a difference in traditional and nontraditional ways. Kaiser Permanente offers tremendous latitude in testing boundaries and building for the future.

Q: You mentioned Kaiser Permanente’s dedication to community. Can you please elaborate?

BC: My pleasure. A wonderful example was Kaiser Permanente being the “Official Health Partner” for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. Here in Los Angeles, over 1,000 Permanente physicians and many, many more from the Kaiser Permanente family provided medical care; from the Opening Ceremonies to the sporting venues…or just being “fans in the stands.” Nothing better than a hug from a Special Olympian. We continue to be a strong supporter of this cause...and many others. Kaiser Permanente is a company of head and heart.

Q: What is important to you outside of work?

BC: I’ve been married for 40 years to my wife Nolinda. We’ve also had Dodgers tickets for 40 years. What better way to raise a family than to spend time at Dodger Stadium? We have three beautiful children and our newest delight is our grandson, Will, who is almost two years old. My wife has recently taken up golf, so we enjoy golfing together on weekends.

Q: What would you like to be remembered for at Kaiser Permanente?

BC: Oh my. Perhaps as a man who challenged the status quo, helped others reach their full potential…and brought words of encouragement daily. And had a little fun along the way!

Bill Caswell​

SVP & COO – Southern California, Kaiser Permanente

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