In 2012, Kaiser Permanente leaders had the idea to bring mobile health to communities that are smaller in population and have limited access to medical offices. After Tehachapians displayed an overwhelming response to the mobile health vehicle, Kaiser opened a brick-and-mortar facility locally in 2016.
Due to its continuous expansion of their facility and services offered, which in turn, has fulfilled a great need to the community, Kaiser Permanente has been named Large Business of the Year for 2020, an honor bestowed jointly by the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and Tehachapi News.
"From there, it has just evolved," said Melissa Costelloe, M.S.A.-HCM, ambulatory care supervisor. "As Kaiser Permanente continues to grow medical services close to home, we offer access to three primary care physicians."
The original facility had four exam rooms; however, three construction projects later, it now has six exam rooms and a nurse clinic.
Currently, Kaiser Permanente in Tehachapi employs a staff of 11, including two family medicine physicians, Dr. Bradley Davis and Dr. James Sproul, and one internal medicine physician, Dr. Mariana Revelo.
"This allows members to stay here, and not have to travel to Lancaster or Bakersfield for services," Costelloe said.
According to Mary Amos, department administrator, Kaiser continues to monitor the needs of local patients, and brings in specialists from other facilities periodically to expand upon services offered. Specialty services and providers rotate on a regular basis and include behavioral health, nephrology, gynecological (except OB) and general surgery.
In addition, the Nurse Clinic, staffed with a registered nurse and a licensed vocational nurse, allows Kaiser to provide blood pressure checks, immunizations for school and most travel, TB tests, wound care, injections, infusions, EKGs and a full-time phlebotomist for most walk-in lab services.
“Providing Permanente medicine to our 7,000-plus members in the greater Tehachapi area is truly an honor and a privilege. We strive each day to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Marvin Campos, medical director for Kaiser Permanente.
According to Costelloe, Kaiser provides critical Life Care Planning visits so members can complete their Advanced Care Directive and designate their healthcare agent in the event the member is unable to make their own medical decisions.
"We thank the Chamber of Commerce for recognizing us as the Large Employer of the Year," said Senior Vice President David Womack. "We're proud of our dedicated local staff that offer a range of primary and specialty services. We are also delighted to have been the sponsor of the annual GranFondo since its beginning. Kaiser Permanente and the city of Tehachapi is a win-win."
In addition to the GranFondo, Kaiser has donated to more than 20 nonprofit and public safety groups, including monetary donations of more than $165,000.
Through its Community Health Grant Program, Kaiser has provided an additional $40,000 to local groups for fitness equipment and related activities.
Michelle Vance nominated Kaiser Permanente for the honor, saying Kaiser provides its patients with top-notch medical services.
"It is refreshing to see a company of their size continue to be involved in the community through sponsorship, volunteering and fellowship. They are a company with a big heart and have a deep love for Tehachapi," wrote Vance.
Kaiser has been a Chairman's Circle Member of the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce for the past seven years. Through its membership, Costelloe said Kaiser helps the chamber fulfill its mission to advance the prosperity of its members.
"Kaiser Permanente generously supports the community of Tehachapi in many ways, and we look forward to honoring them for their contributions to the community," said Ida Perkins, president of the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce.
Kaiser Permanente Tehachapi is located at 1100 W. Tehachapi Blvd., Suite D. For more information, call 823-6630.