HEALTH PLANS: Kaiser transplantation scandal-Will we ever know the truth?

Meanwhile, despite the fuss about the HealthConnect project–elsewhere the real Kaiser scandal may be whimpering out as the man behind it, Kaiser whistleblower David Merlin settled his lawsuit for unfair dismissal .

I had a very frank conversation about the kidney transplant issue with outgoing KP N.Cal President Mary Ann Thode during and after her keynote at UC Berkeley Haas health care conference on Feb 3. She essentially said, well it’s in litigation and the lawyers won’t let us talk about what happened, but if we could we would tell you the other side of the story…

She also had the chutzpah to say that once they took the “hard decision” to shut down the new kidney transplant unit they did that part (the transferring patients back to the UCSF and UC Davis lists) very well. The rest of her talk was all about how only a non-profit organization had the correct mission for health care. I wasn’t exactly impressed—particularly as most of the issue is about the relationship with the decidedly for-profit Permanente Federation from which nothing has been heard about the kidney fiasco.

Letting the lawyers tell them what to do is rank stupidity. KP needs to prove that a) it does the right thing, and b) if it has screwed up that it’s going to transparently find out why and get it right the next time. At the time I called for a full public inquiry in which KP put a reputable outsider in charge of the investigation and promised to do what s/he recommended. Of course that never happened.

Buying off Merlin doesn’t exactly given a great assurance that next time they’re going to do better. And if they don’t state their case, their haters will do it for them.

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