State Fines Kaiser For Botching Kidney Transplants

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, August 10, 2006

The fine comes 3-months after Kaiser shut down its Northern California kidney transplant program, a move prompted by patient lawsuits. The head of Kaiser’s Northern California region – Mary Ann Thode – admits they made mistakes. 

"I think everyone underestimated it. I mean everybody thought that it would be much easier than it would be."

The problem started when Kaiser ordered up to 1,500 patient transfers to a new transplant center two years ago.

Kaiser reportedly failed to discuss the transfers with regulators and that delayed procedures. Cindy Ehnes – director of the state Department of Managed Health Care – which levied the fine, says Kaiser was incompetent. 

"They bit off more than they could handle and being unable to chew on it actually choked on it."

The $2 million penalty is the largest fine the agency has ever imposed. Kaiser will pay an additional $3 million to a charity that promotes organ donation.