Kaiser's Player Roster

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2007-05-10 Print this article Print

Top players inside and outside the organization.

George Halvorson
Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente
In a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Halvorson said Kaiser "really did screw up" transferring patients into the transplant center. Nevertheless, he said, California would be better off if the program were still alive because almost all patients who had kidney transplants at Kaiser survived.

Bernard Burks
Realtor and Kaiser kidney patient
Burks is one of more than 50 patients and their families who are suing Kaiser. He claims that the HMO lost his medical records and that he lost his time on the kidney transplant waiting list. Kaiser denies Burks' claims and has appealed a ruling that Burks' case should go before a jury.

David Merlin
Former director, Kaiser Renal Transplant Services Department
Merlin told state and federal regulators about problems at the now-closed Kaiser kidney transplant center after he informed Kaiser administrators and was fired, he says. His complaint for wrongful termination claimed that the HMO accused him of leaving "inappropriate voice-mail messages" and of violating its alcohol and drug policy when he drank part of a beer with dinner in his office. Merlin was "stunned" by Kaiser's accusations and concluded he was fired for raising questions about the center's performance.
Kaiser denied Merlin's claims. The lawsuit was settled in January. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Berkeley Keck
Assistant executive director of information technology, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
Keck was one of the first people outside Kaiser to learn about data management problems at the transplant center. As a former transplant nurse, he says, he found it "personally distressing" that, in his view, patients' chances for getting organs were compromised.

Ed Japitana
Nurse consultant, Centersfor Medicare & Medicaid Services
One of the federal investigators who inspected Kaiser's transplant center, he says Kaiser didn't apply enough time or resources to the massive job of transferring 1,500 patients into the new program.

Lawrence Eisenberg
Partner, Eisenberg & Gray LLP
Eisenberg represents kidney patients suing Kaiser. He says Kaiser didn't think through what it would take to set up a kidney transplant center.

Mary Ann Thode
President, Kaiser Permanente, Northern California region
Thode was a spokeswoman for Kaiser after investigative stories about the transplant center broke in the media. She said Kaiser's shutdown of the center shows that it "cares about quality."

Dr. Sharon Inokuchi
Former medical director, Transplantation Dept., Kaiser San Francisco Medical Center
A nephrologist who still works at Kaiser. The organization took care of all its patients, she said, and they "did not suffer any disadvantage as a consequence."


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