Kaiser assessed record-breaking $3 million fine

Kaiser Permanente is being assessed a record $3 million fine by the state of California's Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC). The state says Kaiser hasn't done a good enough job of investigating problems--like questionable physician performance and patient complaints--that came to light when the health plan's kidney transplant program was forced to close.

State regulators said when they dug into how the kidney transplant debacle occurred, they found Kaiser was doing a grossly inadequate job of monitoring allegations of poor care. In particular, inspectors noted peer review standards varied tremendously from one Kaiser hospital to the other, with some hospitals referring problem cases to peer review 20 times more often than others.

Not only is the $3 million fine a record-setter, it's also the second in less than one year. Last August, DMHC fined Kaiser $2 million for its role in the transplant program collapse, as well as requiring it to donate $3 million more to promote organ donation.

To learn more about the fine:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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