Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Fined $500,000 for Errors Leading to Patient Death
The Department of Managed Health Care has fined Kaiser Foundation Health Plan $500,000 for failing to refer a patient with muscular dystrophy, who subsequnetly died, to a specialist, the Los Angeles Times reports (Bernstein, Los Angeles Times, 11/16). The fine is the largest ever from the agency for a case involving a single patient. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that although the patient's mother made repeated requests for a referral to see a specialist, Kaiser never granted approval (Salladay, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/16). Further, although the patient's doctor said he would refer him to a specialist, the paperwork never arrived. Six days after the doctor said he would make the referral, the patient died in his sleep. DMHC Director Daniel Zingale said Kaiser has not instituted a "corrective plan" to prevent the errors that led to the death. "This case involves multiple egregious errors by Kaiser in its care and treatment of the enrollee," the agency said (Los Angeles Times, 11/16). Lea Rubio, a spokesperson for Kaiser, said the health plan is conducting its own investigation into the situation, but will not complete its review until it receives some medical records from UC-Davis Medical Center (San Jose Mercury News, 11/16). Kaiser spokesperson Jim Anderson added that the fine "confused" the health plan, which may appeal the case (Los Angeles Times, 11/16).