The California Department of Corporations has fined Kaiser Permanente $1 million for allegedly delaying urgently needed care to a 74-year-old patient who later died. Kaiser, which denied the allegations, plans to challenge the fine.
The penalty against the Oakland, Calif.-based HMO is one of the largest ever levied by the state of California for alleged lapses in patient care. It comes as oversight of California's HMOs is to be passed to the new Department of Managed Care this summer.
In the 1996 case, a Kaiser patient suffering back and abdominal pain pleaded throughout the day to see a clinic doctor. When finally seen, she didn't receive appropriate emergency treatment, according to department documents. The woman suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm minutes after arriving in the emergency department and died 36 hours later.