KAISER PERMANENTE: Patient Complaints Heard Sooner
Complaints against the state's largest HMO are being heard much sooner than a year ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to a report released by the independent attorney who runs the new binding arbitration program for Kaiser Permanente, cases are assigned to arbitrators 16 times faster under the new system. The report found that the new system has reduced the time it takes for a patient to be assigned an arbitrator from 674 days to an average of less than 43 days. According to Sharon Lybeck Hartmann, the program's independent administrator, 680 patients used the new arbitration system in the past year, with 94% alleging malpractice and only 1% claiming that Kaiser had improperly denied proper care. Seventy-three cases were settled and 22 went to court. Last year, Kaiser restructured its binding arbitration system, which is now run by an outside office and is funded by Kaiser and patients who file claims. The report is available at www.slhartmann.com/oia (Bernstein, 5/25).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.