Monday, August 28, 2017

Redmond Historical Society launches 2017 - 2018 Speaker series

The Redmond Historical Society hosts six speakers a year (September - November  and February - April ) Programs are scheduled on the second Saturday of each month, 10:30 am - noon in the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center. The programs are free and  donations are encouraged. Patricia Bailey is the first speaker this year.

Saturday, September 9, 2017 @ 10:30 AM
Washington’s Healthcare Pioneer: Group Health Cooperative
Patricia Bailey
Marketing and Communications Strategist
Kaiser Permanente

"Group Health: An Early Voice for Affordable Care"

What happens when you bring together folks trying to get affordable health care? If you’re in 1945 Seattle, you get the creation of Group Health Cooperative and the beginning of what became one of the dominant health care systems in Washington State for 70 years.

It’s a history that includes a Lebanese-American doctor (Michael Shadid) who pioneered cooperative health care in the U.S., a woman (Hilde Birnbaum) who fled Nazi Germany and became Group Health’s first female president, a former Mercer Island mayor (Aubrey Davis) who served 38 years on the Group Health Board of Trustees, and countless others who contributed.
How it all came to be is the topic of the Redmond Historical Society’s Saturday Speaker Series program on September 9.

Patricia Bailey, part of the public affairs team at Group Health, which last year merged with Kaiser Permanente, will look back at pivotal events like the 1949 lawsuit against King County Medical Society to break up what the co-op saw as monopolistic practices.Group Health maintained “its progressive roots,” throughout its history, Bailey says, “for example he lping Seattle and King County develop health care programs for low-income residents in 1968 and endorsing abortion reform, starting in January 1969.”

A key legacy was the co-op’s ability to remain “integrated—offering care and coverage together—despite market pressures over the years to separate the two,” Bailey says. “Being acquired by Kaiser Permanente ensures that care and coverage will be bound together in the future to the benefit of plan members and patients.”

Group Health’s long-term success, she adds, came from “an unrelenting commitment to the organization’s mission to provide affordable healthcare to as many as possible.”

“And I truly mean unrelenting on the part of everyone involved, regardless of disagreements or ups and downs or failures or successes. The belief that this was the right thing to do and worth fighting for never wavered … We owed it to the founders and original members who sacrificed, and even mortgaged their homes for a dream, to continue what they started and make sure that dream survived and endured.”

 - Redmond Historical Society press release

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