Bernard Tyson, 60, the chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente, and the 2018 chairman of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), died suddenly Sunday, in his sleep, according to Kaiser Permanente.
The cause of death was not immediately available.
Tyson suffered a heart attack and heart failure in 2006. He told Dr. Eric Topol, in an interview published by Medscape in 2016, that the experience had taught him the critical importance of the human touch in health care, and that his health care team was watching his health closely.
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Kaiser Permanente said it was announcing Tyson’s death “with profound sadness.”
“An outstanding leader, visionary and champion for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, Bernard was a tireless advocate for Kaiser Permanente, our members and the communities we serve,” Kaiser Permanente said.
The Oakland, California-based carrier named Gregory Adams, executive vice president and group president, to be the interim chairman and CEO.
Kaiser Permanente is the biggest nonprofit health coverage provider in the United States, with 12.3 million in California, Colorado, Georgia, the Mid-Atlantic region, Oregon and Washington state. It also delivers health care services, through a network of 39 hospitals and 701 medical offices. The company generated about $80 billion in revenue in 2018.
The AHIP board issued a statement mourning the loss of the group’s former chairman.
“Bernard Tyson was a revered leader,” AHIP said in the statement. “We are devastated by his sudden passing. His passion for helping people . . . his strong desire to serve . . . his dedication every day to making people healthier and communities stronger . . . his towering eminence as a leader. He epitomized what we should all strive to deliver. To Bernard’s family, we want to express our deepest sympathies. To the Kaiser Permanente family he also loved so much, our hearts are heavy for your loss. Everyone across the entire health care sector will mourn and miss him.”
How He Got His Start
Bernard Tyson was born in 1959 in Vallejo, California. His father was a minister, and his mother was a homemaker who struggled with diabetes.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in health service management from Golden Gate University in 1982, and he earned a master’s degree in business from Golden Gate in 1984.