Kaiser funding also for safety-net partners
Thanks for the in-depth article on Kaiser Permanente's partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (December 2006, p. 11). However, I just wanted to clarify the full nature of Kaiser's $8 million endowment to the IHI. In addition to funding scholarships for Kaiser clinicians and employees, half of that funding is set aside to support Kaiser's safety-net partners.
These scholarships are just one of the ways Kaiser supports the communities it serves as well as the safety-net organizations it works with. The endowment has provided more than $500,000 in scholarships to nearly 100 institutions that help the medically underserved.
Winston Wong, M.D.Medical director Community benefit KaiserPermanente Oakland, Calif.
Where's the Calif. malpractice coverage?
After reading your recent coverage of Kaiser Permanente and medical errors (December 2006, p. 11), I cannot fathom why you haven't covered the fight for and passage of a landmark California law governing disclosure of information on malpractice settlements.
You give Kaiser positive coverage for its efforts to track medication errors, but fail to report on legislation designed to make doctors liable for their mistakes. I was involved in a $1 million settlement with Kaiser Foundation Health Plan over the misdiagnosis of my daughter's condition. She eventually died, needlessly, from Ewing's sarcoma, a form of cancer, at age 29.
I used her story and others to persuade legislators to come up with the new legislation. The new law, SB 438, requires medical providers to submit for review to the Medical Board of California the names of every doctor who is involved in a malpractice lawsuit that results in an award to a plaintiff.
Kaiser had only reported the name of one of the six doctors involved in the arbitration of the case. The medical board later censured all six doctors. The story of my daughter's case and the resulting law would be a worthy addition to future coverage of medical errors.
Hillarie LevySimi Valley, Calif.