Transfer of Kaiser Transplant Patient Records Complete
The Department of Managed Health Care on Tuesday announced that it has finished reviewing files of Kaiser Permanente members awaiting kidney transplant and estimates that all patients will be transferred by the end of the year, the Los Angeles Times reports. The patient records have been forwarded to the University of California-Davis and UC-San Francisco medical centers, where the patients' transplants will be performed (Ornstein/Weber, Los Angeles Times, 10/11).
Kaiser announced in May that it will close its kidney transplant center. Several news reports alleged program mismanagement that compromised patient care (California Healthline, 10/3).
As it assisted Kaiser in transferring 2,300 patients awaiting kidneys to other hospitals, DMHC discovered that about 90 Kaiser patients on the national kidney transplant list were deceased.
Mary Ann Thode, president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals in Northern California, admitted that Kaiser "absolutely knew [patients] passed away," but she added that Kaiser "didn't go through the appropriate notification process."
Transplant experts are not blaming Kaiser for its inaction, however. Experts say kidney patients are not traced as consistently as those awaiting other organ transplants, so it is common for a large program to miss changes in a patient's status (Los Angeles Times, 10/11).