California Regulators Advance Investigation of Kaiser Call Centers
The California Department of Managed Health Care has gained access to documents from Kaiser Permanente as part of an investigation into the HMO's call centers, the Sacramento Bee reports (Dahlberg, Sacramento Bee, 2/2).
The investigation centers on Kaiser's use of scripts that call center personnel follow when taking calls from members. Call centers are staffed with non-medical professionals as well as nurses and doctors.
DMHC's investigation was sparked by a nurse voicing concerns that call center staff were not handling calls appropriately, increasing the possibility of members receiving inaccurate information and having their care delayed (California Healthline, 1/12).
Kaiser initially declined to provide the documents to DMHC.
Medical Board Gets Involved
Meanwhile, the Bee's coverage of the investigation has pushed the California Medical Board to evaluate whether Kaiser's call center practices can be construed as permitting non-medical personnel to practice medicine without a license, according to Candis Cohen, a spokesperson for the medical board (Sacramento Bee, 2/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.