Contrary to your recent article "Kaiser's success" (Sept. 22, p. 28), it's not just unions that have noted a precipitous fall in Kaiser Permanente's quality of care. Consider the following:
Recent federal government investigations at four Kaiser hospitals in Northern California documented pervasive problems with emergency care, unsafe staffing, respiratory services and quality assurance.
Texas' attorney general in April threatened to have Kaiser's license revoked following a probe showing the company violated Texas law by retroactively denying payment of emergency services and engaging in unfair claims settlement practices.
California's Supreme Court ruled 6-1 in June that there is evidence Kaiser may have committed fraud in delaying arbitration in the case of a patient dying of lung cancer.
Many Kaiser doctors are beginning to protest, such as the pediatric physician who recently wrote: "As long as the organization feels that `cost structure' is our biggest challenge, we will continue to have deteriorating care, demoralized staff and people leaving the organization."
Increasing numbers of patients are fed up. One group of Sacramento, Calif.-area patients is suing, charging that Kaiser's practice of overbooking appointments causes excessive waits.
Rose Ann DeMoro
Executive director, California Nurses Association