Kevan Mabbutt: Welcome to Intermountain, Thanks for Asking, Podcast. I'm Kevin Mabbutt, Senior Vice President and Chief Consumer Officer. And every week I'll be bring you this podcast where caregivers ask our CEO, Dr. Marc Harrison, anything that's on their minds.

Today Dr. Harrison and his guest connected remotely using a telepresence room, which is why the audio sounds a little different. Lookout for new episode every week and listen at the end to learn how to be a part of the podcast.

Dr. Marc Harrison: So today I’m with Kendal Hunter, a dietary technician from Utah Valley Hospital. Kendal I'd love to hear a little bit more about your job, and then I'm looking forward to your question and a conversation.

Kendal Hunter: Okay. My job is, I go between two things. I assemble the patient trays for delivery and also I deliver the nourishments to the different floors. So kind of a lower end job, but…

Dr. Marc Harrison: Kendal, there's no such thing as a lower end job at Intermountain. You're a caregiver. I'm a caregiver. You're out there interacting with people in need every day. I want to say thank you. I really appreciate what you do.

Kendal: You're welcome. It's truly where the rubber meets the road as you're bringing the food into the patients' room, and see their faces when they get to choose their own food and eat what they like. There's fulfillment there.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Good. I’m glad there is. I always think, food is love, right? You're nourishing people, and it's not just physical nourishment, it's emotional nourishment. So I'm really glad you do what you do. So thanks a lot.

Kendal: Well thank you. What brought me here today was I'm from the San Francisco Bay area. So I grew up going to Kaiser Hospitals, and I’ve been with Intermountain for twenty years now, so I was wondering if you could do a comparison between Intermountain Healthcare and Kaiser.

Dr. Marc Harrison: So you're specifically interested in this whole idea of Kaiser versus Intermountain, right?

Kendal: Yeah. Without doing a celebrity feud or anything like that. I understand there're two different, we're servicing two different populations. A bit like when you did the work with Abu Dhabi, it's different than Utah.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Definitely. We have a lot of similarities, but there are also some differences. Kaiser is largely, almost exclusively, a closed system. They own their own hospitals. They have a medical group, the Permanente Medical Group. They also have their own insurance products.

And so once you enter their system you're cared for exclusively by Kaiser Permanente folks. What that does, they're really good at keeping people well. They're very good at controlling costs. On the comparison side, they are gigantic compared to us. I think they are on the order of $60 billion in revenue a year, across the United States.

We're a pretty big system, I think we're the thirteenth largest system. We're about seven and a half billion dollars. So just to give you a sense of size and scale, they’re gigantic. They're different from us in that we have a large pre-paid component to what we do.

About forty percent of the business we do now are people we've been paid to take care of them for a year. And we have much the same ethos that Kaiser does. Where we make sure that utilization is very appropriate. We take care of people in the least expensive, least restrictive environment possible. We're extraordinarily cautious and thoughtful about how we engage in helping to keep people well.

Now that doesn't mean we don't have a lot of room for improvement. This is a very hard thing to do, and there are very few systems that are actually successful with their health plans like we are. I think we have a big similarity there.

We have a couple of main differences that I think actually makes us very adaptable and potentially relevant in more markets. So we have a Medical Group and it's fantastic, about 1,600 physicians and advanced practice clinicians. But we also work with another 3,500 affiliated providers.

They do a very good job at keeping our patients well also. Aligning them, but not needing to employ them, allows people to choose what kind of environment they want to practice in and still take care of Intermountain patients, members.

The other thing we do is that we don't just work with our own insurance products, we work with others. I think that this ethos of being careful with resources also makes us very attractive to work with for other insurance providers because they know we're going to be careful with how we deploy resources to take care of patients.

This heterogeneous model I think puts us in a place where we're very relevant and will probably be a basis for us to grow appropriately in other markets. Does that make sense to you Kendal?

Kendal: Yeah, it does. So just a follow up question. If you ever met Bernard Tyson, the CEO of Kaiser, what would you two talk about?

Dr. Marc Harrison: Well Bernard, I know him pretty well — not very well but pretty well — and he’s one of the most engaging, high energy, charismatic people you'd ever care to meet.

Something that we both hold dear to our hearts is improving behavioral health care in communities. A big part in helping people stay well is helping them with both social issue and with mental illness and behavioral health issues. We've done a great job with that through mental health integration here at Intermountain, and as you probably know, we won the Hearst Health Prize last year for that project.

Brenda Reiss-Brennan, she led that effort for us. But I think Kaiser is actually investing a lot in that space as well. And I think we both have come to the conclusion that if we're really going to provide high value care to a population, that getting good at this is important.

Kendal: Great. Thank you. I appreciate you taking time out.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Before I go and before you go any advice that you have for me?

Kendal: No. I think you're doing a wonderful job considering, it's just an age, of really, transformation. Everything is in upheaval.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Well I think that the industry is in upheaval. I think Intermountain I'd say is in transformation. So this is not easy and I don't pretend like it's easy. I want everyone to know that we're in a really good spot. We're performing beautifully, even as we're figuring out our new model. And that's getting better every day.

I want people to feel comfortable and secure that we're doing the right thing. We're beginning to see the results of that. I think we as an organization have every reason to be optimistic.

Kendal: Great, thank you. I think that's a good note to end on.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Great. Well I'm really glad to chat with you and take care of a good day, okay?

Kendal: Okay. Well great. Thank you very much for your time.