KAISER PERMANENTE: Hit with $1M Penalty in Delay of Care Case
Citing "systemic health care delivery problems" at Kaiser Permanente, the California Department of Corporations slapped the HMO with a $1 million fine for allegedly delaying care to a 74-year-old patient who later died, the Los Angeles Times reports. The action originates from a 1996 case involving a Kaiser patient who died after failing to "receive appropriate or prompt emergency treatment" for a ruptured aortic aneurysm. According to the corporations department, the charges against Kaiser include: failing to ensure accessible care to enrollees, failing to provide basic health care services and failing to have medical records readily available. Kaiser spokesperson Jim Anderson said the company plans to "vigorously" fight the allegations, arguing that the department "is essentially proposing a new and dangerous standard of oversight" (Marquis, 5/16). Associate executive director of the Permanente Medical Group Dr. Philip Madvig said, "[W]e don't believe the facts of the case support the allegations or the action taken by the DOC," (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 5/16). He added, "The Medical Board of California reviewed this case some time ago and did not make any adverse findings" (Abate, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/16). Health care consumer advocates hailed the department's action, although they were concerned by the four-year delay. "Systemic health problems could be affecting thousands and thousands of people. Those have to be stopped immediately," Peter Lee, executive director of the Center for Health Care Rights, said. This summer, oversight of HMOs will shift to the newly created Department of Managed Care. Devoted solely to health plan oversight, the department will "be able to act far more promptly," supporters argue (Los Angeles Times, 5/16).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.