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Financial Times UK - Global Newswire
Jan 23, 2003
by Wire Reports
KAISER PERMANENTE AND CONSUMER GROUPS AGREE TO LANDMARK PUBLIC DISCLOSUREOAKLAND, Calif., -- Kaiser Permanente will post on its website the clinical guidelines developed by its physicians. These guidelines are consulted for treatment of conditions ranging from asthma to visual impairment. Kaiser Permanente will also provide information on its physician compensation structure. Both are part of a settlement jointly announced today by Kaiser Permanente and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), Consumers for Quality Care (CQC) and the Steven Andrew Olsen Coalition for Patients' Rights.
In 1999 two lawsuits were filed alleging false advertising and other violations of California's Unfair Competition Law.
"The goal of Kaiser Permanente is to work hand in hand with our members to continually improve the quality of care and service," stated Bernard Tyson, Senior Vice President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. "It is particularly gratifying to turn conflict into a productive collaboration with these important consumer groups." During the litigation, Kaiser Permanente began to implement other major elements of the agreement and will expand these efforts: -- Kaiser Permanente will expand its efforts to encourage members to select a personal physician in order to give members every opportunity to have a personal physician. -- Kaiser Permanente will continue to devote resources to physician recruitment to ensure appropriate numbers of well-qualified doctors. -- Kaiser Permanente reaffirms that its call center employees do not and will not receive financial incentives to limit or deny access. In addition, Kaiser Permanente will survey its members on how to improve call center operations. Based on the survey results, Kaiser Permanente will make appropriate improvements to call center operations. -- Kaiser Permanente will contribute to an ongoing study on the delivery of emergency care services in all California hospitals.
"Kaiser Permanente has set an important bar for public disclosure that other health plans should meet," said Jamie Court, executive director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
The plaintiffs expressed their satisfaction with the settlement. Scott Olsen, president of the Steven Andrew Olsen Coalition for Patients' Rights, said, "We are glad this settlement will give patients the information and choices they need. Kaiser has set an example for every other health plan in the nation."
KFHP is America's largest non-profit health plan. Founded more than 55 years ago, with headquarters in Oakland, California, KFHP serves the healthcare needs of 8.4 million members, primarily on a pre-payment basis. Kaiser Permanente is the trade name for the organizations that comprise the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program. These organizations consist of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, their subsidiaries, and the Permanente
Medical Groups, independent physician group practices that contract exclusively with KFHP and its health plan subsidiaries to provide or arrange medical services for KFHP members. Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente includes about 128,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and about 11,000 physicians representing all specialties. Kaiser Permanente
CONTACT: Beverly Hayon of Kaiser Permanente, +1-510-271-6437, or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Jamie Court of FTCR, +1-310-392-0522, ext. 327, or email@example.com
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