Kaiser Permanente closes clinics, expands virtual visits to combat COVID-19

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente said it is closing some medical office buildings and consolidating to fewer locations in some of its service areas as it postpones some appointments and expands the use of virtual visits. 

The health system did not reveal locations of the closures and consolidation. Most urgent care locations will stay open, it said.

"We are at a critical moment in our fight against COVID-19. The situation is rapidly evolving, and we are doing everything we can to keep our members, staff and communities as safe as possible,"  Kaiser stated in a news release. "By temporarily consolidating, we can support a potential surge in the number of people who need  hospitalization, meet the critical need to conserve personal protective equipment, guard against potential staffing shortages and limit exposure to the virus for both members and employees."

Kaiser, a healthcare provider and nonprofit health plan, serves more than 12 million members in eight states and Washington, D.C. Its local markets are in northern California, Hawaii, southern California, Georgia, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Washington state and Oregon. In Colorado, Kaiser is closing 21 of its clinics to combat the pandemic, and is deferring scheduled surgeries and procedures until later, The Denver Post reported. 

The health system will keep 10 of its Colorado clinics open for specialty care, obstetrics, lab tests, medical imaging, behavioral health and pharmacy services.

Kaiser said its regional changes and the delay of nonurgent surgeries and procedures are "to ensure we have capacity and equipment to care for the potential of more critically ill patients and to guide members to virtual care options to reduce demand for in-person visits to our medical offices."




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