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Courthouse News Service
September 03, 2015
    
Kaiser Settles Sexual
Harassment Case
By BARBARA WALLACE

 SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A
federal judge dismissed a sexual
harassment case against Kaiser
Foundation Hospitals after the
parties settled for an undisclosed
sum.

 U.S. District Judge Thelton E.
Henderson dismissed the lawsuit
with prejudice.

Felicia Id-Deen sued Kaiser
Foundation Hospitals and Darin E.
Green in March 2015.

 According to Id-Deen's lawsuit,
she was a contract employee and
Kaiser was her "joint employer."
Green was her manager and a
Kaiser employee, the lawsuit said.

 "Plaintiff was denied
promotion because she
rebuffed defendant Green's
advances and/or because she
reported his harassment to
defendant Kaiser," the lawsuit
said.

 "After she reported
defendant Green's
harassment, defendant Kaiser
retaliated against plaintiff by
refusing to promote her, by
overwhelming her with work,
and by making her work
environment as hostile as
possible short of physical
assault," Id-Deen said in the
suit.

 When Id-Deen did not resign,
Kaiser terminated her contract,
she claimed.
 Kaiser has 60 days to pay the
undisclosed sum or the
dismissal will be vacated and
the case restored to the
calendar, Henderson wrote in
the dismissal order.
Class Claims Kaiser Has Lax Suicide Care
By BARBARA WALLACE
Courthouse News
October 14, 2015       
[See also Kaiser Behavioral Health]

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A class led by a woman who sought care while suicidal claims
Kaiser's mental health care does not measure up, in Los Angeles County Superior
Court.
The Department of Managed Health Services fined Kaiser $4 million in September
2014 for alleged mental health care deficiencies, Courthouse News Reported.
The lead plaintiff, identified in the lawsuit as S.F., now 50, says she was diagnosed
with Major Depressive Disorder over 15 years ago. Her condition got worse and she
became suicidal in 2010 when she learned that her brother, who had molested her
as a child, was going to become a father, she says. Kaiser psychiatrists prescribed
medication, but that did not solve the problem, she says.
"S.F. was subsequently seen by three different Kaiser psychiatrists to prescribe
medicine to treat her Major Depressive Disorder. At least one of these psychiatrists
did not remember her on her return visit. S.F. felt that no one at Kaiser was
monitoring her mental health situation. Her symptoms did not improve. She remained
severely depressed and suicidal," the complaint states.
Despite repeated requests for weekly therapy, and flouting the law, the only options
Kaiser offered were single-session appointments - followed by two-to-three week
waits for a follow-up appointment - or weekly group therapy, according to the
complaint.
S.F. says group therapy was not appropriate for her because she could not discuss
incest in that setting.
"Kaiser flatly and repeatedly refused to make an out-of-network referral," the
complaint states.
"With no other choice to save her life, given her deep depression and suicidal
ideation, and the ineffectiveness of her monthly medication appointments with Kaiser
psychiatrists without accompanying therapy, S.F. sought and began weekly
individual therapy outside Kaiser," the complaint continues.
Three years later, S.F. felt emotionally stable enough to handle her business affairs
and submitted claims for reimbursement to Kaiser, according to the complaint. Kaiser
denied her claims.
S.F. contends her therapy expenses should be reimbursed because her Kaiser
psychiatrist and a Kaiser Licensed Clinical Social Worker both knew she was seeing
outside therapists and recommended that she continue.
S.F. alleges unfair competition, Unruh Civil Rights Act violations, breach of contract,
breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and negligence. She
seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, restitution, compensatory, statutory and
punitive damages, interest, attorneys' fees and costs of suit. S.F. is represented by
Christopher H. Knauf of Knauf Associates in Santa Monica.
Lawsuit alleges Kaiser anesthesiologists told to skimp on
anesthesia, rush patients through, save money
By Aimee Green
The Oregonian/OregonLive
July 15, 2016

A former Kaiser Permanente anesthesiologist has filed a $9 million lawsuit against the
health organization, claiming he was fired after he repeatedly complained that cost-
cutting measures were jeopardizing the safety of patients in the Portland area.
Among those measures was an August 2014 mandate from higher-ups that
anesthesiologists reduce the amount of knock-out or anti-anxiety meds they give
surgery patients so the patients would wake up sooner and be discharged as soon as
possible, according to a lawsuit filed by Dr. Erik Franck last week in Multnomah County
Circuit Court.

Franck was particularly disturbed that upper management told Kaiser
anesthesiologists to address patients' suffering by warning
them ahead of time that they were going to be in pain after
surgery
, the suit states.

Kaiser, the suit claims, spared no mercy for kids who underwent surgery, either.
"As a result of these policies, Dr. Franck became increasingly concerned that his
pediatric patients were having their IVs pulled too soon after arrival in the recovery
room while they were still crying with pain," the suit states.

In response to last week's lawsuit filed by Franck, a Kaiser spokesman offered the
following statement:

"Kaiser Permanente is nationally recognized for meeting the highest standards for
quality in surgical care. We are consistent in our approach to lawsuits filed by former
employees. We prefer to respond through the appropriate legal process, rather than
litigate in the media. The claim is meritless and we are confident the facts will readily
reflect that."

Franck's lawsuit is at least the third of its kind filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court
since 2014 by doctors who argue the organization's interests in minimizing costs is
putting patients at risk.

In April 2014, oncologist Jennifer Lycette filed a $7 million lawsuit claiming she was
forced to quit after she made a series of complaints, including that Kaiser's
oncologists were ordered to rush patients through bone-marrow biopsies, meaning
there might not be enough time for their pain medications to fully kick in.
In August 2014, sleep-clinic doctor Radhika Breaden filed a $9 million suit claiming
she was forced to quit after she complained about cost-cutting measures forcing sleep-
deprived patients to drive long distances to access a Kaiser sleep laboratory.
Both Lycette's and Breaden's lawsuits are still pending.

Franck's lawsuit states that he's been an anesthesiologist for 19 years. Now 55, he
started working for Kaiser in June 2013 -- administering anesthesia to patients in
Portland area clinics, including at Kaiser facilities in North Portland, Beaverton and
Clackamas.

He worked for the health-care organization about two years before management didn't
renew his contract in August 2015.

The suit states that Franck raised concerns when he saw them. Among the allegations:

•        A new policy required staff to get surgery patients to the operating rooms by 7:
30 a.m. -- even if staff needed more time to prep patients, the suit states.
Occasionally, Franck didn't meet the deadline because he was was attending "to a
patient's medical needs or a patient's desire for more information prior to surgery," the
suit states.

•        "During an anesthesia department meeting, Clayton Horan, M.D., Chief of
Anesthesia, emphasized the importance of meeting the 7:30 a.m. deadline by advising
the anesthesia doctors ... to 'take the patient in with their street clothes on if you have
to," states the lawsuit.

•        In late 2013 and early 2014, Franck told Kaiser management he was concerned
about patient safety after he was assigned to supervise the care of four patients at the
same time, according to the suit. Franck, a father of two school-aged boys, told
management "I would not want my child to have surgery under that anesthesia model."

•        In May 2014, the director of obstetrics anesthesia for Kaiser Sunnyside Medical
Center sent out an email stating that "Anesthesiologists are asked not to go into
operating rooms during [cesarean sections] unless absolutely necessary," the suit
states. But Franck responded that "it isn't safe to discourage anesthesiologists from
going into their operating rooms. We supervised CRNA's (certified registered nurse
anesthetist) and should feel free to go in as we feel need."

Franck's lawsuit says that he had a stellar track record.

"Dr. Franck's work was routinely praised by his superiors, co-workers and patients. He
had no adverse outcomes," states the suit. "His first year review was exemplary. He
never received discipline."

But the suit does claim that in his second year on the job, he was retaliated against
because he repeatedly voiced his concerns. In September 2014, he was told that
there had been some complaints by co-workers about him and that he should
complete a four-session Kaiser communication course, which he did, according to the
suit.

Seven months later, he was told his contract wouldn't be renewed when it expired, the
suit states.

Portland attorney Judy Snyder, who is representing Franck, said her client now works
for Portland area dentists, administering anesthesia for mostly children.

"He's taken a hit financially," Snyder said.
News, information and ideas about our
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by Maura Larkins