Kaiser controversy fells top exec

Kaiser Permanente executives are making money for now, but they may not have time to enjoy it. On the one hand, the health system just announced that it had a nicely profitable quarter, posting third-quarter profits of $417 million on operating revenue of $8.7 billion. On the other, it seems likely that a brewing IT management controversy has pushed one its senior executives out the door. This week, Kaiser announced that senior vice president and CIO J. Clifford Dodd had resigned "effective immediately," language that often serves as executive-speak for "He's so fired." For the time being, a vice president responsible for costly health records system HealthConnect is taking over the vacant position.

Kaiser is denying that Dodd's departure is tied to a high-profile blowup that occurred earlier this week, in which a lower-level employee emailed 180,000 employees a letter criticizing HealthConnect management and technology. The letter also revealed internal financial estimates projecting a potential $7 billion loss for the company over the next two years. Kaiser CEO George Halvorson (photo), not surprisingly, says that the estimates are dated, and that the company has already begun to cut back. He's also defending HealthConnect, part of the company's $3 billion IT investment program.

Get more background on the Kaiser situation:
- read this piece in the East Bay Business Times
- check out this article in the Sacramento Business Journal

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Kaiser avoids Medicare loss. Article