I think that most of the latest fines for Kaiser, which are only vaguely related to its original problems at the kidney transplant unit and are for poor performance of peer review and handling complaints at its hospitals are generally much ado about nothing. I got quoted by Barbara Feder in the SJ Mercury News saying as much.
This does not, though, absolve Kaiser for not coming fully clean about what happened with the kidney transplant scandal, and for its reticence in having anyone at TPMG talk about it. That’s still the elephant in its living room that both KP and the Dept of Managed Health Care are ignoring.
I live on the east coast so perhaps things are different in CA, but I do not share your dismissal of the seriousness of the state’s findings. Kaiser, with a captive physician group, hospitals, and patients, should find it much easier, not harder, to have a standardized and effective quality assurance program than independent hospitals.
Taking the kidney transplant fiasco, my own experience dealing with Kaiser administration and physicians while practicing, and the recent state findings together; I think this is a strong indication that Kaiser is truly a managed COST organization, not managed care. It should not be held up as a national model for ideal health care, as some have done.
For folks who are interested in understanding the origins of Kaiser’s kidney transplant fiasco, I would like to recommend an excellent article published on May 14, 2007 in the magazine “Baseline” (www.baselinemag.com).