Kidney Patient Transfers Delayed
Unexpected complications have delayed the transfer of patients from Kaiser Permanente's troubled kidney transplant program in Northern California to programs at two University of California medical centers, regulators said Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Weber/Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 6/16).
The HMO in May announced that it will close the program following reports of alleged problems that led to transplant delays. About 2,000 patients will be transferred to transplant programs at the University of California-Davis and UC-San Francisco medical centers from the Kaiser transplant program, which opened in 2004 (California Healthline, 6/8).
Kaiser officials had said they would quickly transfer 114 patients who were closest to receiving a kidney. However, only one patient, who had a living donor, has received a transplant at UC-Davis.
Kevin Donohue, deputy director of the Department of Managed Health Care, said that a "considerable amount of time" was spent on standardizing patient files among the three medical centers, adding that transfers would be quicker now that the system is in place. The department is overseeing the transition.
After the initial 114 patients are transferred the remaining patients will be moved in groups based on time spent on the waiting list (Los Angeles Times, 6/16).
State health officials said the first group's transfer should be completed by the end of June (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 6/16).
The HMO is transferring at least 15 patient files daily to the UC medical centers, and that number will increase to 20 per day by the end of the month, according to Donohue.
The Times reports that as of Tuesday, the medical records of 21 patients were sent to UCSF and 27 were sent to UC-Davis. A spokesperson for the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation's transplant system, said this week that "at least three" Kaiser patients' wait times have been officially transferred.
Kaiser also announced on Thursday that it had appointed Linda Mann to be the new administrative director for the kidney program until the transfers are complete. Mann served as manager of the kidney transplant program at UCSF during the 1980s (Los Angeles Times, 6/16).