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Health Care Hall of Fame

Sidney R. Garfield
Inducted in 1988

Sidney R. Garfield
1906-1984
Inducted in 1988


Today’s managed-care industry might not be the same had it not been for the influence of Garfield.

The co-founder of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Garfield helped institute a group practice prepayment program, something that was frowned about by much of the industry. Despite the criticism, Garfield’s plan laid the groundwork for the numerous HMOs and PPOs that are in existence today.

Garfield was a surgeon by trade, but when a friend told him about 5,000 construction workers without health insurance who were building an aqueduct on the Mojave Desert, Garfield began to formulate an idea. After borrowing money, Garfield established a 15-bed hospital in the middle of the construction site to care for sick workers. He had two nurses, a cook, a janitor and an ambulance.

After having difficulty receiving payment from the workers and insurers alike, Garfield came up with the idea to deduct a nickel a day from their paychecks to pay for future care.

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