Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente, the non-profit health provider, remains atop the list of the largest private-sector employers in L.A. County with 36,500 employees locally. That's up 3,716 employees, or 10 percent, from a year ago.

Kaiser, like most California hospital operators, is in the process of renovating or rebuilding its facilities to comply with earthquake safety requirements. Its flagship hospital, the Los Angeles County Medical Center, is in the midst of a $412 million project to build a 400-bed replacement hospital. Another large project is a $339 million replacement tower at its Downey Medical Center.

Kaiser has finished construction on one hospital location in the past year. A 218-bed hospital and central utility plant at Kaiser Panorama City Medical Center was completed at a cost of $153 million.

In addition to facilities construction, Kaiser is introducing an electronic medical record system. As of June 30, Kaiser members had viewed 22 million lab test results online and used the Web to schedule 3.2 million appointments.

Kaiser was originally founded in the 1930s as a health care program for the Kaiser group of companies. It opened to public enrollment in 1945. It's non-profit structure is unique and allows it to own and operate hospitals for members of its health plan.

Overall, Kaiser employs 173,800 people.

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