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Kaiser Plans to be Leaner and Meaner during the Current International Financial Down Turn
During the years 1991 - 2003 there was another financial crisis in this country.  During 1997 - 2002, things really got bad in the Kaiser Health System.  That is when major cost cutting in health care under the Federal Balanced Budget Act took place. Medicare recipients suffered the most because it was their services that were cut back.  Previously unimaginable shady deals were developed due to the repercussions of this act.   The patients suffered because Kaiser and other HMO's felt that in order to keep their personal "Culture of Luxury" they had no other choice.

Truth, honesty, just doing their job as promised to the public, and our government, seem to have never crossed their minds.   Secretively limiting needed patient care and covering up wrong doing  was the norm.  All they cared about was keeping their government contracts and keeping the money rolling in. 
The Kaiser solution was to cut back on services that were long term, cost inhibiting (by their standards) and by the overpromotion of their actual capabilities to government agencies and with inaccurate/manipulative advertising.   They promised a great deal but did not always honor their promises.  They also allowed or knowingly participated in unethical agendas all for their self interest of physician financial reward and retirement programs.  The public must get rid of the notion that Kaiser in business for anything other than making money for the physicians.  This is not a caring family doctor type of outfit.

Today, many people still remember how Kaiser knowingly allowed patients to be harmed.  They still remember how there was zero accountability, arrogant corporate and government protectionism of the actual offenders and how employees outright bragged about such conduct for their personal financial gain.  They still know that nothing has ever changed and that attempts to sweep such conduct under the rug continues to this day.  Most of all, many people never forgot the false government promises to conduct investigations and bring about prosecutions for corporate and employee civil and criminal conduct.

All that Kaiser and government regulatory agencies ever really needed to do was root out the offenders and stop blocking prosecutions.  Instead, continued cover-ups is their method of doing business.   The problems will never go away with that mode of operation nor will they ever bring public trust for any except those innocents that are very unfamiliar with these types of systems.

To add anguish to the memory of what Kaiser did to numerous trusting patients and their families, often the Kaiser public contact persons were openly hostile, insulting, demeaning or at the other extreme sounded as if they had taken one too many mood altering drugs and held the attitude that they were speaking to over sheltered preschoolers.  In short, by one method or another the staff openly attempted to demean and ridicule the public in an attempt to make them just go away.

As several Kaiser employees have stated over the years:  "Once Kaiser determines that a patient just costs too much for them, one way or another they will make them leave."  The truth is that for the truly trusting patient, the one that believes that corporations will honor contracts and that regulatory agencies will do their promised jobs, those are the people that needlessly suffer and often die from lack of medical care.

The era, once again of computer problems that crop up until patients expire or leave the system, where sudden shortage of staff prevents patient care, where unavailability of physicians occurs so patients have no true medical treatment or where not so accidental medical errors take place is currently descending fully and openly once again.

Nothing ever got better except the employee's and director's paychecks.  So, here they go again:

Friday, February 20, 2009
Kaiser Permanente puts costs under the knife
Pay freeze, layoffs planned^1782122


February 21, 2009

     Reform of a $2.5 Trillion Health Care Industry

Former US Senator David Durenberger (R-Minn.), in his weekly e-mail
newsletter, quotes George Halvorson, CEO of Kaiser-Permanente, the
largest health maintenance (health and healthcare delivery and
financing) company in the world.

 "Expecting our massive, very well-financed, high revenue, high margin, high growth, healthcare infrastructure to voluntarily reduce costs and prices and expecting them to voluntarily and spontaneously improve either outcomes or care quality is unfortunately naive. It is almost entirely funded by a steady and massive stream of fees and cash payments that have no linkage to either care quality, efficiency or results. It is magical thinking to believe that health care delivery can, or even could, reform itself in any significant way.

There is no economic reward for improving care."

So if what Halvorson says is important to the Permanente then why do they claim that "
95% of physician compensation is straight annual salary" and that  "Kaiser plans have virtually no pay incentive for higher physician production or a larger patient panel. A few of the regional medical groups have very small individual bonuses for higher production. Kaiser doctors also earn overtime for working more than the required hours."

"Kaiser plans rely on medical management, performance evaluation, and peer pressure--rather than pay incentives--to meet production requirements. Mustille notes that Kaiser staff physicians are subject to a "thick book of policies and procedures," key provisions of which set out work hours and patient accessibility requirements.";col1

Internal Documents Show How Physicians Monitored on Costs
"This is a disgraceful performance by a corporate giant that spent $60 million a year in advertising just in 1995 proclaiming a supposed ‘Commitment to Quality’ and that Kaiser is somehow ‘Different from the Ground Up’ compared to the other giant corporate medical chains in the health care industry," DeMoro added.

"Yet Kaiser made over $2 billion in profits in the three most recent years for which data is available, gave its chief officer David Lawrence a 12% pay hike in 1995, and spent an additional $96 million in 1995 on consulting fees."