Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kaiser May Be Liable for Gabapentin (Neurontin) Prescription

Kaiser May Be Liable for Gabapentin Prescription
Courthouse News (CN)
June 28, 2012

Kaiser Permanente cannot dismiss claims over the suicide of a patient taking anti-seizure medication, which occurred six months after the medical consortium won $142 million from drugmaker Pfizer over such dangerous side effects, a federal judge ruled.

Pfizer introduced Neurontin to treat epilepsy in 1994, selling about $200 million worth of the product to Kaiser over the next decade. But in 2004, Pfizer paid $430 million to settle federal charges over its marketing of Neurontin for off-label uses that were actually ineffective.

By March 2010, a jury awarded Kaiser $142 million for Pfizer's fraudulent marketing.

Six months later, Kaiser patient Charles Borreani killed himself. He had been prescribed up to 3,200 mg a day of gabapentin, the generic form of Neurontin, to treat neuropathy, a loss of sensation in the hands and feet.

Borreani's family sued Kaiser in Alameda County Superior Court, claiming that the hospital giant knew about the dangerous side effects associated with Neurontin but still pushed the drug to patients.

They say Kaiser knew that patients taking Neurontin in high doses suffered from feelings of suicide, and that it promised the court after winning the $142 million verdict that it would re-educate its doctors about Neurontin over the next 60 days.

Kaiser removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming that federal jurisdiction arose under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). It moved to dismiss on the same basis since Section 502 of ERISA pre-empts any claims that might otherwise be brought under the federal law.

But U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg called Kaiser's logic flawed last week and remanded the case to state court.

Borreani bought his Kaiser health care plan through his employer, but his family's claims do not relate to plan administration, the court found.

"Plaintiffs could not have brought this action under § 502 because they do not seek to recover benefits, to enforce their rights, or to clarify future opportunities under the plan," Seeborg wrote. "Rather, they simply assert state tort claims arising from defendants' alleged negligence in maintaining their drug formularies and in educating Kaiser physicians."

"At base, the conduct underlying the FAC does not relate to ERISA plan administration," he added, abbreviating first amended complaint. "Rather, the behavior is grounded soundly in allegations of negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation."

Friday, June 29, 2012

San Diego Woman Details Medical Nightmare Caused by Doctor

Woman Details Medical Nightmare A huge jury verdict won't end her suffering or ease the emotional pain she says was caused by a local doctor
By Paul Krueger and Christine Haas
NBC 7 San Diego
Jun 29, 2012

On May 22, Kelly Currie and her husband won a huge jury verdict, in an El Cajon courtroom after several surgeries and attempts to repair damage she said was caused by local doctor Kris Ghosh. NBC 7s Christine Haas reports.

On May 22, Kelly Currie and her husband won a huge jury verdict, in an El Cajon courtroom.

But Kelly says that that money won't end her suffering, or ease her emotional pain. “I would give every penny of it back, to go back to before surgery,” Kelly told NBC 7 News in an exclusive interview.

“To be back to normal, to have my body back to normal."

Kelly's nightmare started in 2009, when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Doctor Kris Ghosh recommended a complete hysterectomy, which would remove Kelly’s cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Kelly and her husband were impressed with his experience and self-confidence, and took his advice.

"I just wanted to get rid of the cancer," Kelly recalled.

And while that surgery did remove the cancer, it also left Kelly with severe pain. She knew something else was wrong, when she got ready to leave the hospital.

"And when I stood up, blood went everywhere,” she remembered, as if it happened yesterday. “Down my legs, all over the floor."

That scary experience was only the start of Kelly's problems.

Problems her lawyer, Chris Hulburt, said could have been avoided, if Dr. Ghosh had performed a routine “cone” biopsy on Kelly's cervix, before doing that surgery. Hulburt specializes in medical malpractice cases. He says that biopsy would have revealed that Kelly had a tiny, almost microscopic, cancer that did not require radical surgery.

“And it was our case that if he'd done the smallest surgery, none of these (surgical) injuries would have happened, and she would have been fine,” Hulburt said.

Kelly said those additional surgical injuries became apparent, when she got home from the hospital...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court upholds Obama’s health-care law

Supreme Court upholds Obama’s health-care law
By Robert Barnes
June 28, 2012
Washington Post

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Thursday joined the liberal wing of the Supreme Court to save the heart of President Obama’s landmark health-care law, agreeing that the requirement for nearly all Americans to secure health insurance is permissible under Congress’s taxing authority.

Even as it upheld that central component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, however, the court modified another key provision of the law, ruling that the federal government cannot withdraw existing Medicaid funding from states that decide not to participate in a broad expansion of Medicaid eligibility.

The court’s historic compromise, which will affect the health-care choices of millions of Americans, amounts to a major victory for the White House less than five months before the November elections, although the Medicaid decision sets new limits on the power of the national government.

President Obama welcomed the ruling, which he called “a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure.” He said the decision would allow the health-care law to offer millions of currently uninsured Americans “an array of quality, affordable health-insurance plans to choose from” starting in 2014.

“Today the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance,” Obama said in televised speech at the White House. He said he knew that this individual mandate “wouldn’t be politically popular” and that the debate over the law “has been divisive.” But he said the law was “good for the country” and “good for the American people.”

“The highest court in the land has now spoken,” Obama said. “We will continue to implement this law. And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can. But what we won’t do, what the country can’t afford to do, is refight the political battles of two years ago or go back to the way things were. With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward.”

Illustrating the divided nature of the ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, representing the court’s most consistent conservatives, read a scathing dissent, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, representing the liberals, issued a separate opinion supporting Roberts but differing with him on key aspects of the case...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kaiser Foundation Hospital Overtime Pay Class Action Lawsuit

Kaiser Foundation Hospital Overtime Pay Class Action Lawsuit Complaint Filed On Behalf of Kaiser Site Support Specialists
JUNE 11, 2012

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Inc., a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente (“Kaiser Hospital” or “Defendant”) in the Superior Court for the State of California , County of Sacramento (captioned Jozette Lemmons v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Inc., Class Action Case No. 34-2012-00125488) alleging, among other things, a failure to pay overtime wages in purported violation of Cal. Labor Code section 510, 1194 and 1198, failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements in purported violation of California Labor code section 226 and alleged unfair competition in purported violation of California Business and Professions code section 17200, according to the Kaiser Foundation Hospital Site Support Specialist Overtime Pay class action lawsuit complaint.

The Kaiser Foundation Hospital Site Support Specialist Overtime Pay class action lawsuit complaint is reportedly brought as a class action on behalf of the following proposed class (“Class”):

All individuals who are or previously were employed by Defendant Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Inc., as Site Support Specialists in California classified as Non-Exempt and who worked on-call hours (“CALIFORNIA CLASS”) at any time during the period beginning on October 6, 2008 and ending on the date as determined by the Court (“CALIFORNIA CLASS PERIOD”).

The Kaiser Foundation Hospital Site Support Specialist Overtime Pay class action lawsuit complaint reportedly seeks, among other things, compensatory damages, injunctive relief, restitution, and pre-judgment and post-judgment interest.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Harbor-UCLA medical chief placed on leave amid investigation

UPDATE: See Former Harbor-UCLA medical chief files lawsuit

Anderson earned more than $420,000 in 2009, making him one of the county’s top earners.

Harbor-UCLA medical chief placed on leave amid investigation
LA Times
August 31, 2011

The chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Torrance has been placed on leave amid an ongoing investigation, sources said late Wednesday.

Gail V. Anderson Jr., who also is an associate dean at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, was escorted out of the hospital Tuesday, sources said. William Stringer, chief of internal medicine, was named interim chief medical officer.

Mitchell Katz, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said Anderson was on leave but would not comment on the investigation.

"This is a personnel issue. I cannot say anything else," Katz said.

Anderson could not be reached for comment.

Anderson, who started at Harbor-UCLA in 1998, is responsible for medical care and also oversees the programs for residents, fellows and medical students, according to the hospital's website. He previously worked as the acting chief medical officer for the county Department of Health Services.

Anderson earned more than $420,000 in 2009, making him one of the county’s top earners.

Harbor-UCLA is operated and owned by the county and is affiliated with the UCLA School of Medicine.

UCLA doctor may not have followed proper credentialing procedures
September 03, 2011
By Anna Gorman
Los Angeles Times

The chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center may not have followed proper procedures for credentialing doctors at the hospital and is being investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, according to sources familiar with the inquiry.

Gail V. Anderson Jr., who is also an associate dean at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, was placed on paid administrative leave from the county hospital earlier this week and was escorted out of his office. His locks were changed and his computer secured, sources said.

In addition to possible irregularities in the credentialing of other doctors, authorities are probing aspects of Anderson's own credential to treat patients, according to the sources, who did not want to be named because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation.

Top medical personnel at county hospitals recently were directed to see patients by Mitchell Katz, who became the director of the county health services department earlier this year. Katz declined to comment Friday on Anderson's leave or the investigation, saying the leave is a personnel matter. Anderson could not be reached.

The credentialing process ensures that doctors can safely practice medicine at hospitals.

Under state law, physicians must be credentialed and be granted privileges at the hospitals where they work, according to the California Hospital Assn. During the credentialing process, administrators typically check with the Medical Board of California on the status of the person's medical license, run a criminal background check, verify the education record, review the malpractice claim history and check if the doctor is board-certified.

The process is "extremely important," said Dorel Harms, senior vice president of the California Hospital Assn. "You don't want somebody who has been a pediatrician all his life doing neurosurgery."

James Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Assn. of Southern California, said that it "could be a dangerous situation. You may have a person treating a patient beyond his skill set or scope of practice."

Not going through the proper credentialing process could potentially affect a hospital's accreditation, said Elizabeth Eaken Zhani, spokeswoman for the Joint Commission, the accrediting agency for Harbor-UCLA.

In the last three years, the Joint Commission has received 21 complaints at Harbor-UCLA that met criteria for review, Zhani said. The complaints were related to standards dealing with organizational leadership, the care and treatment of patients and patient rights and responsibilities.

The executive staff at the hospital was informed that Anderson had been placed on leave and that William Stringer, chief of internal medicine, was named interim chief medical officer, doctors at the hospital said.

"It was a surprise," said Adam Jonas, chair of the pediatrics department at Harbor-UCLA. "That is all I can say." Jonas said he didn't know any details concerning the investigation.

Robert Hockberger, chair of the emergency department at Harbor-UCLA, also said he wasn't aware of what county officials were investigating. But Hockberger said he believed that county was trying to "make sure that the physician leadership is strong, that they have both the authority and accountability to do their job on a daily basis."

Doctors might be giving patients too many tests, too much radiation

June 13, 2012
Patients' radiation levels boosted by increased medical scans
By Michelle Castillo
(CBS News)

The number of CT scans, MRIs and other medical imaging procedures are increasing at a rate that has researchers concerned about increased exposure to radiation. Multiple CT scans in kids triples cancer risk, but researchers caution overall risk low

According to a new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on June 13, between 1996 and 2010, the number of CT scans tripled and the number of MRIs quadrupled.

"The doses are not at a level that people should really be concerned," Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, the study's lead author and a radiologist and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told the New York Times. "It's rather that we need to minimize unnecessary exposures wherever possible."

Radiation has been known to increase a person's risk of getting cancer, according to the study's authors. Some research shows that 2 percent of all future cancers will be caused by current imaging use. Another recent report in The Lancet showed a direct association between CT exposure in children and cancer risk. Children who get five to 10 scans triple their risk of developing leukemia, HealthPop reported.

The study looked at millions of health records of patients within the HMO Research Network, a group of 19 HMOs across the United States and in Israel. The specific records they looked at belonged to patients in several western and Midwestern states.

Researchers found that the amount of radiation in patients had doubled over the last two decades, as well as the number of medical imaging procedures. In 2010, 20 CTs were performed for every 100 patients. Three percent of patients overall, and four percent who underwent imaging, received radiation above the limit that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission sets for people who work at nuclear power plants and double what European regulators recommend.

For those in the 65 to 75 age group, the number increased to 35 CTs per 100 patients. Ten to 20 percent of children who had a single head CT had radiation doses known to triple the risk of brain cancer or leukemia.

The bigger problem is that a lot of these patients are exposed to multiple tests, which is significantly increasing their radiation levels, Smith-Bindman said.

"It's not just that we're doing more advanced imaging tests, but we are also doing these tests in such a way that the tests deliver higher - and more variable - doses of radiation," Smith-Bindman said in the press release. "I am concerned that physicians have lowered their threshold for advanced imaging so much that it is now used even when they may not believe it is necessary or will really change their management of the patient."

At "fee-for-service" hospitals and clinics, these procedures often provide a monetary benefit. But, the study revealed that medical imaging is increasing even for patients under health maintenance organizations (HMOs), which do not derive any financial benefits from doing the costly procedures.

"You would have imagined that the rate of increase would be lower," Smith-Bindman explained in the press release. "Our results showed very similar growth in imaging within these integrated settings as has been shown outside of these settings."

Smith-Bindman and her team said patients need to be more aware and "insist of the necessity and safety of all radiological scans ." The researchers encouraged patients to talk to their doctors to see if these procedures are justified, and added that facilities should monitor when patents are receiving repeated scans or more radiation doses than necessary.

Monday, June 11, 2012

From the archives: Death by insurance company; Pacific Mutual said patient was covered, then reversed itself

Suit Blames Insurance Company Error for Sick Woman's Death
May 27, 1988
LA Times Staff Writer

An ailing Fountain Valley woman died because her insurance company mistakenly told doctors she was covered for liver transplants, then reversed itself just before she was to undergo a potentially life-saving operation, according a lawsuit filed by her family.

As a result of Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Co.'s declaration that Delores Holmes, 50, was not covered under the policy that the Newport Beach firm administered for her employer, officials at UCLA Medical Center canceled the operation, the lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court alleges.

But Pacific Mutual, which administers the self-insurance plan for Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, where Holmes worked as a nurse, denies that the error made by its clerk caused Holmes' death.

"Our actions did nothing to prevent this woman from obtaining a liver transplant," said Pacific Mutual's spokesman, Geno Effler.

The lawsuit, filed this week in Santa Ana by Holmes' husband, son and daughter, says that Holmes was told by doctors at UCLA that she needed a liver transplant in the summer of 1987.

UCLA telephoned Pacific Mutual to confirm that Holmes was covered under an insurance policy. The suit says that a Pacific Mutual employee told the hospital that Holmes was covered.

When a donor became available in December, 1987, the suit says, UCLA again sought to confirm that Holmes' employer would pay for the operation, which costs, on average, from $160,000 to $260,000.

At this time, the suit says, Pacific Mutual informed UCLA that Holmes' policy did not cover liver transplants.

"Thus UCLA released (Holmes) from the hospital and she did not receive the required liver transplant," the suit says.

Holmes sought coverage from Medi-Cal, the suit says. That was approved, but no compatible donor was found before Holmes died on Feb. 15.

The suit contends that had Holmes known in August, 1987, that she was not covered by her insurance plan, she would have had sufficient time to secure Medi-Cal coverage for the operation.

Pacific Mutual contends, however, that it was not informed of Holmes' peril in December...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Parents assail malpractice caps after daughter's death at UCLA hospital

Parents assail malpractice caps after daughter's death at UCLA hospital
Center for Justice and Democracy
Los Angeles Times
JANUARY 22, 2011

Two years ago last week, Olivia Cull, 17, was taken off life support. The standout student — who planned to study classics at Smith College — had slipped into a coma during a routine, outpatient procedure at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA in Westwood.

The story of her death was presented to Congress a few days ago, among cases cited by patient advocates pushing to lift the caps on damages for medical malpractice lawsuits.

As lawmakers search for ways to trim healthcare costs, debate continues over the country's medical malpractice laws. Physician groups say caps limit frivolous lawsuits that can drive good doctors out of business. But patients and their families argue that limits on payouts diminish accountability, making it hard to find lawyers to take cases and force full disclosure from doctors.

... "It's confusing," Joy Cull said. "I could imagine this happening over and over again because families don't have the resources to find out how their loved one passed away. We had to claw our way through the system."

To get more information, the Culls decided to sue the hospital. But like others, they had trouble finding a lawyer willing to take the case. Given the state cap on damages, they said, many lawyers did not consider their case worth pursuing.

Although doctors groups complain of frivolous malpractice lawsuits, the number of malpractice claims has actually decreased in recent years as families have had difficulty pursuing claims, Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, a New York-based advocacy group, told Congress at a hearing Thursday, the second anniversary of Olivia's death...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Do doctor-payment sunshine laws work?

Since the disclosure of information was to state agencies, not the general public, the state laws were less likely to influence doctors' behavior, one expert not involved in the research noted.

Do doctor-payment sunshine laws work?
By Andrew M. Seaman
Jun 4, 2012
(Reuters Health)

The mere passage of a law that requires drug companies to disclose how much money they pay doctors may not change physician prescribing practices, suggests a new study.

In two states that passed so-called sunshine laws requiring drugmakers to disclose payments, doctors' choices of which drugs to prescribe for their patients did not differ much from those of peers in states without such a law.

However, since the disclosure of information was to state agencies, not the general public, the state laws were less likely to influence doctors' behavior, one expert not involved in the research noted.

"It was a way of doing a quick analysis to even see if there was an impact we could measure," said Kavita Nair, the study's senior author and a associate professor at University of Colorado School of Pharmacy in Aurora.

Nair and her colleagues said they were trying to gauge the potential effect of a nationwide disclosure requirement.

The Affordable Care Act -- the broad overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system passed in 2010 -- includes a provision that requires drug companies to report certain payments made to doctors. Drug companies may pay doctors for, among other things, consulting, speaking fees or travel.

The reasoning behind disclosure requirements, according to the researchers, is that doctors will shy away from taking money or gifts that might influence their prescribing choices if the information is reported publicly.

In a letter to the Archives of Internal Medicine, Nair's team said they decided to look at the experiences of Maine and West Virginia -- states that each enacted sunshine laws in 2004...

Overall, "there were negligible to small effects of the disclosure laws in Maine and West Virginia for both statins and SSRIs," Nair's group concluded...

"This doesn't even present a bird's-eye view," said Charles Ornstein, who has looked at the issue of payments to doctors at ProPublica, a non-profit investigative news organization in New York.

Ornstein told Reuters Health that both Maine and West Virginia do not make their disclosures available online. And, he added, companies did not start disclosing how much they paid doctors until 2009 (the end of Nair's study period)...

"I think as more companies report, and this information has been out there a little longer, you'll see studies that are done with a little more robustness than this one," said Ornstein.

Dr. Jerome Kassirer, a distinguished professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine, said the information also needs to be accessible to researchers.

Kassirer, who has looked at the relationships between doctors and big business, told Reuters Health that the debate comes down to a conflict of interest.

"If I'm going to take advice form a doctor on a new drug or any kind of procedure, I'd like the advice from someone who is not conflicted," said Kassirer...

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Dept. of Managed Health Care's Andrew George won't respond to a complaint--will Shelley Rouillard?

Click on image for larger view.

June 4, 2012

Shelley Rouillard, Chief Deputy Director
Holly Pearson, Deputy Director and General Counsel
California Dept. of Managed Health Care

Re: Complaint 603896-STD01 and also two related Jan. 1, 2012 complaints [about VUCG problem]

Dear Ms. Rouillard and Ms. Pearson:

I have patiently worked my way up the chain of command at DOMHC [DMHC], but my complaints have not been acknowledged.
Is it DOMHC’s policy to ignore written complaints? If not, then please respond to this complaint. I described my problem in the attached letter to Andrew George and Carol Massey-McCants, but I received no response. My complaint is now threefold:
(1) the original complaint about Kaiser;
(2) the failure of DOMHC to respond adequately to the Kaiser complaint;
(3) the failure of DOMHC to respond to my complaint about DOMHC.
Yours truly,
Maura Larkins

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Rawlings Group plunders its own employees as it plunders Kaiser Permanente Patients

Click on image to enlarge. Thanks to Jacqueline Finney for the image.

See video on Fix US Health website about the Rawlings Group's actions on behalf of Kaiser Permanente: "Kaiser Permanente Plunders Patients' Piece of the Pie."

Here's a quote from the site:

"Managed Care: Kaiser Permanente Plunders Patients’ Piece of the Pie. Kaiser Permanente has colluded with the Rawlings Company to illegally coerce patients to disclose confidential information in order to track down accident victims to shake them down. The technical term is subrogation. If you have received a letter from Kaiser or Rawlings, demanding accident information, you are at risk that their lawyers may steal money required to ease your suffering. Please e-mail us if you have you have received such a letter from Kaiser or Rawlings. Together we can petition public officials to stop this scam. Kaiser’s and Rawlings’ false statements violate California’s Unfair Competition Law and offend public policy. Our e-mail is We invite you to visit our patient protection website at"

The same video is available on YouTube.

Also see post re HMO Hardball's story on Angela Farnum.

Rawlings/Kaiser actions in the Heriberto Sandoval case are documented in this lawsuit.

Rawlings Group sued over OT
The Rawlings Group has 550 employees in its 156,000-square-foot headquarters off New Moody Lane in La Grange.
Andrea Uhde
Sep 16, 2008

Oldham County's largest private employer, The Rawlings Group, is being sued by two current and two former employees who say they are owed money for overtime they worked in the last five years.

Diana Johnston, Denise Matthews, Tawnya Davis and Tracy Hobbs, all of Jefferson County, filed the lawsuit in Oldham Circuit Court Aug. 26.

In it, they claim they were regularly required to work more than 40 hours a week and weren't paid overtime because they were misclassified as exempt rather than non-exempt employees, in violation of Kentucky Wage and Hour Laws. Overtime is 1.5 times regular rate pay...

Rawlings Group seems to agree with Jacqueline Finney that respecting the law and patients' rights is not one of its goals:


There are many criteria to consider when selecting a claims recovery vendor, but proven ability to deliver bottom line results is among the most important of all. At The Rawlings Group, that is exactly what we deliver.

The Rawlings Group has made significant investments in our internal systems, procedures, and staff. The infrastructure that we have built as a result of these investments has allowed us to consistently generate gross recoveries that are significantly higher—often by multiples—than what other vendors are routinely able to produce. And that means significantly higher bottom line results for our clients.

So what does this mean to you? Simple. When it comes time to select a vendor, do not be distracted by lowball fees, extravagant claims, etc. Rather, focus on bottom line results. When you do, the decision is clear—Rawlings delivers more net revenue to your bottom line than what any other company can deliver.

Robert and Jacqueline Finney helped me find a Kaiser ER case I've spent years looking for

My friend Sandy Wiltgen died of uterine cancer after the San Diego Kaiser Permanente Emergency Room ignored the possibility that she might have cancer, and and instead simply did a Hemoglobin test each time she showed up in a state of desperation because of her severe bleeding. Each time she came in, Kaiser's little blood test discovered she was severely anemic (Hemoglobin was 6!), and so they gave her a transfusion, put on a band-aid, and sent her home. This went on for a year-and-a-half before Kaiser finally did a biopsy.

At around the same time (the mid-90s), I read that a young nursing mother died of breast cancer because the same ER failed to take her seriously, sending her home again and again, without any biopsy.

I've finally found the name of the nursing mother: Angela Farnum. Her story is on the website of Robert and Jacqueline Finney, HMO Hardball.

Angela Rametta Farnum
July 13, 1955 - April 6, 1995
Angela died after a long and brave battle against breast cancer. She worked for Civil Service for several years and then had a day care business. She had a husband and three children.

From the website
HMO Hardball:

Robert and Jacquelyn Finney wrote this patient self-protection manual after attending the funeral of a 39 year old mother of three young children. She didn’t have to die of breast cancer. She was sentenced to death by her HMO and its doctors. She was denied necessary mammograms and treatment. When the HMO and its doctors said NO to Angela Farnum, she died. Three young children and her husband were left alone without the love of a nurturing mother and wife. Although, her story was extensively covered in the media, including the Wall Street Journal and San Diego Union-Tribune, publicity couldn’t save her.

Angela, like other patients, did not have the weapons, strategies and tactics to fight corporation-controlled medical care...

...Documentation is the key to winning the game!

How to Play HMO HARDBALL will never be out of date. President Nixon, lobbied by Kaiser Permanente, passed the HMO Act in 1973 that made HMO HARDBALL legal. Our opposition to HMO HARDBALL health care denial began when the law was enacted. As HMOs invented ever more insidious rules, dirty tricks, and lame excuses, we learned how to implement successful tactics and strategies to play HMO HARDBALL. We are battle scarred veterans with 40 years’ experience. We are the patients’ arsenal for timeless weapons to win HMO bureaucratic battles. HMO covers all “managed care,” including “ObamaCare.”

The following links take you to the Table of Contents and Chapter One of the book.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Two San Diego hospitals fined by Dept of Public Health for violations

Two San Diego hospitals fined by Dept of Public Health for violations
CBS Channel 8 San Diego
June 1, 2012

...Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Grantville was fined $50,000 for leaving a towel in the abdomen of a 69-year-old woman who underwent gall bladder surgery in 2009, according to the CDPH. Towels were used because of complications during the procedure, and one was left inside her - requiring a second operation in 2010 to retrieve it...

"While these incidents are very uncommon, we take them seriously," Nicoletti said. "We reported the event immediately, and cooperated fully with CDPH's investigation."

[Maura Larkins comment: Perhaps Kaiser figured out it would be unable to cover it up. I have witnessed doctors, nurses and administrators working smoothly together, without batting an eyelash, to cover-up mistakes, including when they force someone to leave the emergency room.]

Kaiser made procedural changes to avoid a repeat of the incident, she said.

Watchdog recommends more senior doctor involvement

Hospital heart attacks warning
More than one third of cardiac arrests in hospitals could be prevented if doctors recognise and act on early warning signs more quickly, a health watchdog has said.
ITV News
June 1, 2012

Report author and NCEPOD lead clinical co-ordinator Dr George Findlay said:

Senior doctors must be involved in the care-planning process for acutely ill patients at an earlier stage and support junior doctors to recognise the warning signs when a patient is deteriorating.

The lack of senior input fails patients by both missing the opportunity to halt deterioration and also by failing to question if CPR will actually improve outcome.

38% of heart attacks in hospitals 'could be prevented'

Cardiac arrests in hospitals could be prevented if doctors recognise and act on early warning signs more quickly, a health watchdog has said.

More than a third (38%) of cardiac arrests in acutely ill patients could be avoided by improving their assessment and response to deterioration, researchers found. Experts from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) criticised senior doctors for failing their patients by not supporting junior colleagues. The study, "Time To Intervene?", found that warning signs were not picked up in 35% of those patients, not acted on in 56% and not communicated to senior doctors in 55%.