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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Kaiser settled 2014 patient-dumping class-action suit earlier this year

Michael McCough
The Sacramento Bee
Originally posted December 20, 2018

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan recently settled a 2014 class-action lawsuit stemming from two allegations that it dumped patients with severe mental illness.

Plaintiffs Douglas Kerr and Barbara Knighton alleged that in separate incidents, Kaiser psychiatrists told them their sons needed to be transferred to locked residential facilities called IMDs (institutions for mental disease) for treatment, according to court documents. Knighton and Kerr claimed they were both told they should remove their children from their Kaiser health plans in 2014 to be transferred to these county-run institutions — a change that shifted the costs of treatment from Kaiser to government-funded programs such as Medi-Cal.

Despite the settlement, Kaiser said in a statement it continues to dispute some of the claims included in the lawsuit.

“In certain relatively rare cases, Kaiser Permanente members entered a specialized type of locked mental health facility that often preferred Medi-Cal coverage to private insurance,” Kaiser Vice President of Communications John Nelson said in an emailed statement. “In some of these cases, cancellation of Kaiser Permanente coverage was required to enter the facility. However, this was not Kaiser Permanente’s requirement, and we cover many members’ care at such facilities. Any decision to cancel coverage was made by a court-appointed conservator.”

The info is here.