Kaiser Permanente Addresses Hotline Problems
Kaiser Permanente officials on Thursday said they would respond to patients' calls sooner and hire additional customer service representatives for a hotline established to process calls from members in Northern California awaiting kidney transplants, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The HMO last week announced that it will close its kidney transplant program following reports of alleged problems that led to transplant delays (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/19).
The Department of Managed Health Care on Wednesday directed Kaiser Permanente to increase staffing "by whatever means necessary" for the hotline. DMHC's actions came after the Los Angeles Times found that callers had trouble getting through to the hotline and that some callers received inadequate information (California Healthline, 5/18).
Mary Ann Thode, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plans-Northern California, said informed clinicians will return patients' call within 48 hours.
Kaiser officials also said they soon will begin mailing letters to kidney transplant patients, as they continue to develop a plan for transferring patients to the University of California-Davis and UC-San Francisco medical centers (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/19).
Kaiser officials had no comment on pending related to the kidney transplant program (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 5/19).