Time Magazine reporter Karen Tumulty talked July 28 with President Barack Obama about health care reform, with a transcript published on the web July 29. Kaiser Permanente’s founding physician, Sidney R. Garfield, would have been proud if he were alive to hear the President say, “…If we could actually get our health-care system across the board to hit the efficiency levels of a Kaiser Permanente or a Cleveland Clinic or a Mayo or a Geisinger, we actually would have solved our problems.”
Dr. Garfield would have been proud because his vision on the Home Front of World War II was to build such a system for ordinary Americans. Indeed, it’s interesting, as well, to see Kaiser Permanente in the company of the Mayo Clinic. In 1943, the famed medical science writer Paul DeKruif wrote a book about what Dr. Garfield and Henry J. Kaiser were doing to develop a new model of medical care for working Americans, and nicknamed it the “Mayo Clinic for the common man.”
Interested in learning more about Dr. Garfield and his struggles to bring legitimacy to a revolutionary idea in health care? Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources Director Tom Debley, author of the newly released Dr. Sidney R. Garfield: the Visionary Who Turned Sick Care into Health Care, will speak on this subject at Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
Conversations about Dr. Garfield’s ideas will be nothing new for the Commonwealth Club. As a young man pioneering his prepaid, group practice, Garfield spoke to the club members on two occasions during the war.
Sidney Garfield presented a talk titled “The Permanente Foundation and Shipworkers’ Health” to the Public Health Section of the Commonwealth Club on May 6, 1943. He was engaged again to speak to the club members toward the end of the war (March 22, 1945). The title of his presentation was “A Workable Health Plan on the Basis of Permanente Experience.”
Debley’s talk is titled “The Long Quest for Health Care Reform: A Bay Area Doctor’s Belief in Health Care as a Right.” The evening begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception; program at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8 for members; $15 for nonmembers. For tickets, go to:
– Ginny McPartland