Kaiser avoids Medicare funding loss

It looks like federal regulators have withdrawn their threat to cut off Medicare funding for kidney treatments at Kaiser Permanente's San Francisco hospital. In June, a government inspection of the HMO's Northern California transplant program turned up serious deficiencies in the way the provider managed the program. The inspection was accompanied by a warning that the hospital could lose Medicare funding if things didn't change, though the transplant center was already closed. But inspectors say that the hospital has fixed everything it needed to and is now in compliance with regulations. "Obviously, we were pleased with what we saw," Jeff Flick, regional administrator in Medicare's San Francisco office, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Kaiser took things serious(ly) and fixed the big stuff." The loss of Medicare funding is generally a death knell for hospitals, but regulators rarely follow through on the threat.

For more on Kaiser's turn-around:
- read the article from the San Francisco Chronicle