Kaiser Permanente, PHI Announce $63m Contact Tracing Initiative

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the Public Health Institute (PHI) to strengthen and support contact tracing efforts throughout the state. Kaiser Permanente has committed $63 million in grant funds for PHI’s Tracing Health program which will hire, train, and deploy approximately 500 full-time, culturally and linguistically competent, clinically-based team members. According to PHI, these contact tracers will be able to contact up to 5,500 people per day. Governor Newsom also announced a coalition of 10 philanthropies have committed $18.8 million to support local health departments in building a culturally and linguistically competent contact tracing workforce.

PHI reports that over half of their contact tracers operating in Washington and Oregon are bi- or multi-lingual and most come from the communities they serve. The new initiative will recruit contact tracers from within communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, providing individuals with immediate jobs and income in the short-term, and providing job training and skills to guide them into the health sector or other career paths after the initiative has concluded.

An announcement from the Governor’s Office is available here. An announcement from Kaiser Permanente and PHI is available here.