September 15, 2014

Unit-based teams

Teen Interns Jump-Start UBTs

08/20/2014 UBT members at the Modesto Medical Center were initially skeptical that teenage summer interns could help them get the ball rolling on projects. But working with the interns made them believers. [ STORY ]

Walk Against Waste: A How-To

07/07/2014 Waste walks are a good way to find ways to reduce costs while maintaining high quality. Follow along as this slideshow guides you through a waste walk that took place at San Jose Medical Center’s Molecular Genetics Lab in Northern California. [ SLIDESHOW ]

2013 LMP Performance Report

Labor Management Partnership is Kaiser Permanente’s strategy for transformation and high performance. Founded in 1997 by Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which currently includes 27 local unions representing 100,000 KP employees, LMP is the largest and most comprehensive such partnership in the country. Partnership means that workers, managers and physicians use joint decision-making and problem-solving processes to improve the organization’s quality, service and affordability—and make sure Kaiser Permanente is the best place to work in the health care industry.

We are proud to share some of our top accomplishments from 2013.


Transform Care/Solve for Affordability

Unit-based teams carried out 2,103 projects to improve efficiency and reduce costs—an increase of 277 percent since 2011. Teams also conducted 2,019 projects to improve service and 887 projects to improve the quality of care.
Watch: Saving Money, Saving Lives


Support Culture Change

By year-end, 1,675 unit-based teams were ranked as high performing. Studies have shown that high-performing UBTs have better attendance, fewer workplace injuries and better service scores than low-performing teams.
Watch: Adopting an “Ever Better” Attitude


Working with Sales and Account Management teams across Kaiser Permanente, LMP helped win or retain more than 75,000 KP members in 2013, while engaging frontline teams to continuously improve service, quality, affordability and market outreach.
Read more: Union Ambassadors Promote Value, Help Grow KP Membership

Total Health

Through the Total Health Incentive Plan, employees have support—and a financial incentive—to reach collective goals to take the Total Health Assessment, stay current on screenings and increase the percentage of people with healthy body mass index, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and smoking status. Additionally, KP and labor safety leads in each region worked together to help achieve a 10 percent improvement in the injury rate overall.
Watch: Getting Healthy Together


Workforce of the Future

More than18,000 employees participated in Ben Hudnall Memorial Trust and SEIU UHW-West & Joint Employer Education Fund programs, including career counseling, training and stipends to advance their skills, careers and academic attainment.
Watch: Beating the Odds




More than 500 UBT co-leads received training and recognition in team leadership, health care reform and the new member experience. Eighty-five percent of teams got tools and training to reduce waste.
Read more: Taking the Confusion Out of Deductible Plans




Sixty-three percent of Georgia’s UBTs achieved high performance, exceeding the target set in the 2012 National Agreement and contributing to the region’s Five-Star Quality Medicare ratings.
Read more: A Vaccinating Challenge




Sixty-one percent of unit-based teams achieved high performance. A project team of 19 managers, nurses and other frontline workers and leaders came together to troubleshoot issues for fledgling or struggling teams.
Read more: Wait Times Plummet



Mid-Atlantic States

The region revamped its approach to launching UBTs, emphasizing performance improvement and team communications and dynamics. Consultants also paired new teams with high-performing mentor teams so they could take on such advanced projects as affordability and sustain results.
Read more: Shepherding Lost ID Cards Home



Northern California

Nearly 700 UBTs took on projects to improve Kaiser Permanente's affordability for our members and patients. Projects ranged from reducing supply costs and eliminating waste in work processes to in-sourcing work and improving how co-pays are collected.
Watch: Better, Affordable Care




Sixty-five percent of teams were high performing and helped achieve a 96 percent payout on the Annual Incentive Plan/Performance Sharing Program. Ambulatory care teams exceeded stretch targets on workplace safety, overall medical office visit satisfaction and Medicare refresh goals.
Read more: Creating an Injury-Free Workplace


Southern California

The Performance Sharing Program and electronic Proactive Office Encounter tools helped teams meet regional screening and testing goals for several clinical measures, including cervical cancer, diabetes and cholesterol.
Read more: Taking the Lead on Early Detection



Getting Started as a Team

If you are just getting started, welcome to the world of unit-based teams. UBTs, first negotiated as part of the 2005 National Agreement, are the platform for continually improving care and service across Kaiser Permanente. A unit-based team also supports the regional business strategy and goals for service, quality, affordability and growth.

A team includes all the participants in a work unit or department, including supervisors and managers, union stewards and staff members, physicians and dentists. UBTs tap the creativity, skills and experience of their members in order to improve team performance. They use specific methods and tools highlighted throughout this section of the website.

You’ll find information in this section on:

  • The values that guide UBT work.
  • How your team can establish a shared vision and goals.
  • The broader social and economic context in which KP and UBTs operate.
  • New ways of making team decisions.
  • How to record your tests of change.

Performance Improvement

When frontline teams are focused on improving performance, they are actively making changes to help them deliver the best quality and best service at the most affordable price while creating the best place to work—priorities embodied by the Value Compass.

According to Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health System Performance, when we create an environment in which continuous learning and improvement come naturally, then: 

  • Teams become capable of setting metrics to gauge both outcomes and improvement processes for key areas.
  • Best practices emerge that are based in results.
  • The organization creates systems to facilitate the learning, sharing and spread of best practices.
  • The organization pursues its goals from the top down and the bottom up.
  • Staff members participate in improvement, giving them ownership in the changed work processes.
  • Operational leaders, from stewards to medical center directors, learn deeper improvement skills.  

This section is full of tools and tips your team can use to move along the Path to Performance, the scale used to measure a team’s progress.

Communication and Meetings

Successful teams communicate effectively. To run the small tests of change that help teams continuously improve how the work is done, team members need to communicate, coordinate and make decisions. Sometimes that’s done in meetings—and learning when and how to have a formal meeting and when to have a huddle or quick check-in is part of becoming a high-performing team.

Since not all team members necessarily attend all meetings, however, it’s important that every team to find ways to communicate with and engage everyone on the UBT in other ways, too.

In this section, you’ll find tips on effective ways to keep your team functioning smoothly and communicating well.