State Investigates Kaiser Permanente Complaint System
The Department of Managed Health Care on Thursday said it will investigate whether Kaiser Permanente has a systemic problem with handling complaints, after its Northern California kidney transplant program announced it will close and a plastic surgeon was arrested for alleged sexual improprieties with patients, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Kaiser announced last month that it will close its kidney transplant center. Several news reports alleged mismanagement in the program that compromised patient care.
Last week, a Kaiser plastic surgeon was arrested for alleged sexual misconduct against two female patients. The surgeon had been the subject of 40 patient complaints, mostly concerning his bedside manner, between 1999 and 2005, according to an affidavit.
DMHC spokesperson Lynne Randolph said the department will examine the individual complaints against the plastic surgeon and likely will try to contact the patients directly.
Randolph said, "There is a concern on the part of consumers that their complaints have fallen on deaf ears." She added, "We are, in the space of a very short time, hearing of a situation with Kaiser where patients are complaining that their concerns weren't taken seriously or acted upon quickly."
State law requires hospitals to respond to complaints within 30 days (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 6/23).