Saturday, October 15, 2011

Is Kaiser Permanente violating the California Business and Professions Code with false advertising about digitized x-rays?

Kaiser Permanente boasts about its new Garfield Specialty Center in its October 2011 e-newsletter: "All our X-rays and imaging tests are digital and become part of your electronic health record, which can help speed diagnosis and treatment."

But Kaiser Member Services wrote to me on August 3, 2011 that x-rays taken on June 15, 2011 at the Garfield Specialty Center were not available to my urologist or to Emergency Room doctors because they were saved only on thermal paper! No images at all were available to Emergency Room doctors.

Kaiser wrote:
"Per our records I understand that you spoke with...the X-ray Department on July 11, 2011 where it was explained that the urethra cystogram could not be downloaded to a CD due to it was not digitized. Urethra cystogram was not saved electronically and
we can provide medical record on thermal paper."

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Which is it, Kaiser? Are all x-rays at Garfield Specialty Center digitized, or did Kaiser move some old machines into the new building, and those machines can only save x-rays on thermal paper? Obviously, both claims can not be true.

Kaiser tampered with medical records and created a bizarre series of paper images to hide x-rays. Kaiser was determined to prove that the patient did not have the problem she claimed to have. This plan was written down by the referring doctor in an email to the Department Administrator before the procedure was done. I have written to Dave Horton and Rhianne Steins, who head the Diagnositic Imaging Department, but I've received no response. Chief Financial Officer Lynette Seid was kind enough to respond to me, but she admits she doesn't know much about the issue, and says it will take her two to four weeks to sort it out. And as one can see from the above image, Liza Zinola, Service Area Assistant Administrator for Member Services, is actively supporting the cover-up.

What possessed some Kaiser administrator to plan such an incompetent hoax? I think they are used to having patients who ask no questions.

Here's the Kaiser article:

Garfield Specialty Center in full bloom
Partners in Health e-newsletter
October 2011

If you live near Central San Diego, you’ll be happy to hear that our Garfield Specialty Center is now fully open for business.

Our Garfield Specialty Center “offers a convenient, central location for members to receive same-day surgery and medical care from 58 specialty care providers,” says Mary Ann Barnes, senior vice president and executive director of Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

The Ambulatory Surgery Center has four operating suites, six gastrointestinal procedure suites, and pre- and post-operative patient care areas. Other services available include:

pain management
plastic surgery
general surgery
head and neck surgery

All our X-rays and imaging tests are digital and become part of your electronic health record, which can help speed diagnosis and treatment. In our laboratory, full-spin, adjustable chairs enable technicians to draw blood from either arm. Exam rooms are built for greater noise reduction and patient privacy.

“We’ve designed this building with a lot of windows and natural light,” says Barnes. “Our designers paid close attention to creating a comfortable, healing environment for our patients.”

The Garfield Specialty Center is at 5893 Copley Drive, about 8.5 miles from our San Diego Medical Center.


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