Transplant Settlement an Ongoing Issue for Kaiser
State officials on Monday announced that Kaiser Permanente's kidney transplant program earlier this month transferred its final patient to UC-San Francisco, marking the conclusion of the program, the Oakland Tribune reports (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 4/24).
Kaiser in May 2006 announced that it would close its kidney program. Several news investigations alleged program mismanagement that compromised patient care. Under the program, Kaiser members being treated at other hospitals were forced to transfer to the Kaiser program's waiting list, a process that lost track of many patients and delayed critical transplants.
Following its closure, the center transferred 2,000 patients awaiting transplants to UC-San Francisco and UC-Davis (California Healthline, 2/15). Kaiser continues to provide pre- and post-operation care to these patients.
The Department of Managed Health Care fined Kaiser $2 million for violations in the kidney transplant program.
Lynne Randolph, a DMHC spokesperson, said a final report on Kaiser's practices throughout its health system is expected in June (Oakland Tribune, 4/24).
State officials on Monday also announced the launch of a statewide media campaign to promote organ donation among minority groups.
The campaign was funded by a $3 million donation by Kaiser to Donate Life California, an organ and tissue donation registry. The contribution was part of the HMO's settlement with the state over its kidney transplant program (Oakland Tribune, 4/24).
David Heneghan of the California Transplant Donor Network said about two-thirds of the roughly 20,000 Californians on transplant waiting lists are black, Latino or Asian. The ad campaign is targeted at these ethnic groups.
Since the ad campaign began April 1, registration to donate organs has doubled compared with the same period last year, according to Heneghan. The ads will run through April (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 4/24).
In other Kaiser news, a company subsidiary that markets disease-management programs to large, self-funded employers will change its name from Kaiser Permanente Healthy Solutions to Avivia Health, the East Bay Business Times reports.
The subsidiary was launched more than one year ago by Kaiser as part of an effort to market high-deductible health insurance plans (East Bay Business Times, 4/23).