Former Kaiser Doctor loses license for sexual battery

An Anaheim Hills doctor accused of sexually molesting patients during exams was stripped of his medical license Friday.

The California Medical Board revoked the license of Dr. David Hung Do, 40, after five female Kaiser Permanente patients alleged that he examined them inappropriately between 2006 and 2008.

In September, he pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual battery. A pretrial hearing is set for May 3, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

Medical board documents conclude that Do engaged in sexual misconduct with three of the patients.

In one case, a woman came to see him for a prescription for a seasickness patch. Do touched her breast and put his bare hand down her pants, touching her genitals. She testified at a medical board hearing that she was too shocked too say anything. Do then wrote her the prescription. The patient reported the incident to Kaiser.

He was terminated from Kaiser and later arrested by police.

In deciding to revoke his license, administrative law judge James Ahler described Do as a sexual predator.

Do’s attorney, John Barnett, could not be reached for comment late Friday.

South LA welcomes new Kaiser Permanente Center

Elected officials, hospital administrators and health care activists are celebrating a new medical center in South Los Angeles.

Long-time Kaiser Permanente member Norris Byrd said she’s thrilled the non-profit medical group opened a facility that’s practically in her own backyard.

“We as a community needed this so much. We have longed to see this is in South LA,” she said.

Byrd is among 80,000 members in South L.A. that Kaiser says it intends to serve. The 15,000 square foot medical center is located on Manchester Avenue near Inglewood. The project cost $10 million.

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took a tour on Friday with other city officials and medical staffers.

“I actually believe that if America’s going to get to the point where every American has health care when we can truly say it’s a high quality health care, this is the model,” said Villaraigosa. “It’s gotta be non-profit.”

The two-story, eco-friendly building includes a pharmacy, examination rooms and offices. The lobby displays a glass etching dedicated to the late Dr. Fred Alexander — Kaiser’s first African-American medical director. Colleagues say he was a strong advocate for diversity within the medical profession.

Dr. Tumani Leatherwood, head physician at the new medical offices, says her team will work to preserve Dr. Alexander’s legacy.

“I can tell you now that this staff has some goals,” Leatherwood said. “And one of their primary goals is to try to encourage more youth especially from this community to go into careers in health and come back and serve as leaders like we have.”

Kaiser Permanente South Los Angeles will provide primary care services including X-rays, prescriptions, mammograms and health classes. The center’s staff will begin seeing patients April 11.

Data from CalPERS members show what’s driving up health care costs Read more: Data from CalPERS members show what’s driving up health care costs

by Kathy Robertson , Staff writer

Sacramento Business Journal

Almost three-quarters of CalPERS members insured by Kaiser Permanente are overweight or obese — and the numbers are going up.

It’s not all bad news, however, for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Although 38 percent of the workers had borderline or high cholesterol in early 2010, that figure dropped from 40 percent in late 2008.

High blood pressure and smoking rates are going down, too.

This type of data, presented by Dr. Joel Hyatt to members of a CalPERS committee last month, show what’s driving health care costs for Kaiser patients insured by the pension fund.

Read more: Data from CalPERS members show what’s driving up health care costs | Sacramento Business Journal

Shingles vaccine associated with 55% reduced risk of disease: Study

Receiving the herpes zoster vaccine was associated with a 55 per cent reduced risk of developing shingles, according to a Kaiser Permanente study of 300,000 people that appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This retrospective study observed the outcomes of the effectiveness of the herpes zoster vaccine in a large, diverse population of men and women ages 60 years and older. Researchers found a significant reduced risk of shingles across all sub-groups — those who are healthy as well as those with chronic conditions including diabetes or heart, lung or kidney diseases.

These study findings differ from the clinical trial of the vaccine, which observed its effectiveness on 38,000 participants 60 years of age and older and found it less effective for people older than 75. This new study found a 55 per cent reduced risk of shingles among adults 60 years and older, as well as adults 75 years and older who received the vaccine.

These findings support Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to offer the vaccine to eligible patients of all ages, including those over 75. Researchers note that additional examination of the vaccine’s effect in the oldest group should continue. The herpes zoster vaccine was licensed in 2006, but uptake in the United States remains low: about 10 per cent in 2009 among adults 60 years and older.

“Our study shows the vaccine has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of cases of shingles, a painful, lingering disease,” said study lead author Hung Fu Tseng, PhD, MPH, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena, California. “We suggest clinicians follow the CDC’s recommendations to talk to their patients about the option of vaccination against this serious condition.”

There are more than 1 million episodes of shingles every year in the United States. Shingles is a painful condition that can last months or years and can seriously impact quality of life. Shingles is caused by the dormant chickenpox virus, which stays in the body after a person has recovered from chickenpox. The virus can reactivate and replicate and cause shingles and damage to the nerve system. The elderly are especially vulnerable because as we age, our immunity against the virus that causes shingles declines.

“The risk of developing shingles during a lifetime is about 30 per cent. It is therefore reassuring to confirm results of the original clinical trial that the herpes zoster vaccine is effective at preventing this painful disease,” said study co-author Rafael Harpaz, MD, MPH, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Although that trial was well done, one cannot be sure a vaccine works outside a research setting until you evaluate it in routine medical practices. In addition, our study also provided new information that the vaccine worked to prevent shingles involving the eye, which can result in very serious complications.”

Researchers conducted a retrospective observational study that looked at 75,761 vaccinated and 227,283 unvaccinated male and female members of Kaiser Permanente in Southern California from 2007 to 2009, using electronic health records to compare the incidence of shingles of the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. Results remained after taking into account differences in sex, race, chronic diseases and prior utilization.

This is the latest in a series of published Kaiser Permanente studies undertaken to better understand vaccine effectiveness and safety. Dr. Tseng published another study in JAMA that found the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination is not associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks or strokes. Another Kaiser Permanente study found the combination vaccine for measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox (MMRV) is associated with double the risk of febrile seizures for 1- to 2-year-old children compared to same-day administration of the separate vaccine for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and the varicella (V) vaccine for chickenpox. Other recent published Kaiser Permanente studies found children of parents who refuse vaccines are nine times more likely to get chickenpox and 23 times more likely to get whooping cough compared to fully immunized children. A study published last year found that herpes zoster, also known as shingles, is very rare among children who have been vaccinated against chickenpox.

Co-authors of the paper include Hung Fu Tseng, PhD, MPH, Ning Smith, PhD, Lina S. Sy, MPH and Steven J. Jacobsen, MD, PhD, with Kaiser Permanente Department of Research & Evaluation; and Rafael Harpaz, MD, MPH, and Stephanie R. Bialek, MD, MPH, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases.

The Department of Research & Evaluation (R&E) conducts high quality, innovative research into disease etiology, prevention, treatment and care delivery. Investigators conduct epidemiology, health sciences, and behavioural research as well as clinical trials. Areas of interest include diabetes and obesity, cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, aging and cognition, pregnancy outcomes, women’s and children’s health, quality and safety, and pharmacoepidemiology. Located in Pasadena, California, the department focuses on translating research to practice quickly to benefit the health and lives of Kaiser Permanente Southern California members and the general population.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia

Sharp and Kaiser Are Putting Big Construction Plans Into Action

By Steve Sinovic

Construction projects planned by two local health care systems are promising to bring a major economic stimulus jolt to the San Diego region this year.

Sharp HealthCare, a not-for-profit, integrated regional health care delivery system, and Kaiser Permanente San Diego, a nonprofit integrated managed care system, say they have a series of projects set to go.

Clearly, the most significant in terms of expenditures is the estimated $325 million Kaiser is plowing back into three of its campuses. The majority of funding comes from premiums the company charges on its health plan side, said spokesman Rodger W. Dougherty. “Members will be pleased with the upgrades to services” as a result of the construction and investment in infrastructure, he said.

Sharp is looking to shine in the area of cancer treatment. On Jan. 27, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center will break ground on a $15 million, 45,000-square-foot Cancer Center and Medical Office Plaza.

The facility will be built by Makena Medical Buildings Chula Vista LLC. It will be located behind the main hospital, adjacent to the Outpatient Surgery Center (765 Medical Center Court), which opened in 2001. The project will be funded through system revenue and philanthropy. Sharp officials have tentatively scheduled the facility’s opening for spring 2012.

The facility will be staffed by radiation therapy employees who currently work on the first floor of the hospital, as well as the employees at Sharp Chula Vista’s infusion center. In terms of hiring additional staff, hospital officials aren’t making any projections at this time.

The new facility is being built to keep pace with the health care needs of the Chula Vista community, said a hospital executive.

“Providing patients with the best possible cancer care has always been a priority of ours,” said Pablo Velez, senior vice president and chief executive officer of Sharp Chula Vista.

The centerpiece of the facility, the Cancer Center, will be located on the first of its three floors and feature stereotactic radiosurgery, image-guided radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy and TrueBeam, which is described as more powerful and accurate than any other radiotherapy technology currently available,

Indeed, Sharp Chula Vista, a 343-bed hospital, is expected to be the first hospital in San Diego to offer TrueBeam treatment, Velez said. Another focal point of the facility will be its design, featuring touches such as a private entrance for patients, a fireplace in the lobby, indoor and outdoor healing gardens and soothing colors and sounds.

The Cancer Center’s radiation treatment room will be one of the few in the U.S. to offer floor-to-ceiling windows with views of a landscaped tree garden and decorative rock walls with direct natural sunlight. The hospital’s infusion center and physician offices will be located on its second and third floors, respectively.

“As we planned the Cancer Center and the Medical Office Plaza, we thought about what we would want for ourselves and our loved ones,” Velez said. “We would want the best technology, a comforting environment and easy access to services, so that’s what our patients will have.”

In 2011, Kaiser Permanente plans to tackle projects at its Garfield Specialty Care Center, San Marcos Medical Office campus, and at the San Diego Medical Center.

At Garfield, which is located at 5893 Copley Drive in Kearny Mesa, the final phase of ongoing construction will be completed in May and will add ambulatory surgery services to the facility, including four new operating rooms. The estimated cost is $111 million. A total of 58 physicians will be practicing at Garfield when it is fully completed, a Kaiser spokesman said. About 1,100 physicians in the San Diego region are affiliated with Kaiser.

Kaiser will also break ground in April on a fourth building at its San Marcos campus that will comprise 67,200 square feet, a project that is budgeted at $64 million. The structure will house 34 doctors and an ambulatory surgery center along with four new operating rooms. The building site, at 400 Craven Road, is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

In 2011, planned upgrades to the San Diego Medical Center at 4647 Zion Ave. will carry a price tag of $150 million. About one-third of this amount will go toward maternal-child area upgrades. Kaiser plans to add private patient rooms in the maternal/child areas of the hospital, including antepartum and postpartum care, and the neonatal intensive care unit.

Kaiser’s San Diego Medical Center has also been building its reputation. It was just recognized as a “Baby Friendly Hospital” by Baby-Friendly USA Inc., a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, aka Unicef. With more than 5,000 births locally in 2010, KP San Diego supports breast-feeding to promote infant health.

Kaiser staff helping the hungry on MLK Day

by Business Journal staff

Around 75 employees of Kaiser Permanente Fresno will be honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day by volunteering their time at local nonprofits in an effort to feed hungry families.

For the sixth year now, the hospital is recognizing the holiday by packaging food boxes to be distributed throughout Fresno County.

In addition to the hours of volunteerism, Kaiser Permanente also donated $15,000 to HandsOn Central California in support of volunteer service projects.

Both will be partnering on Jan. 17 for a “Day of Service” project at the Community Food Bank from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with workers to sort and box up food for those in need.

Kaiser Permanente is making similar commitments that day to community organizations and underserved residents in several regions across the nation, including the District of Columbia, Colorado, Maryland and Virginia.

In Fresno, Kaiser Permanente has been an integral part of the Community Food Bank’s BackPack Program that launched in September to deliver food to 50 local elementary school students each week.

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Kudos to Kaiser for giving back.  Even their detractors can’t deny feeding hungry families is a great service.

Court-ordered Kaiser Permanente pay raises should appear Jan. 14 Read more: Court-ordered Kaiser Permanente pay raises should appear Jan. 14

by Kathy Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal

A long-overdue 2 percent raise — and back pay — will show up in paychecks this month for about 2,300 Kaiser Permanente workers in Southern California.

The first payments will show up in their Jan. 14 paychecks. Any adjustments due to overtime or errors calculating actual hours worked will be made no later than the Jan. 28 paychecks, Kaiser officials state in an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court on Jan. 5.

An administrative law judge ruled in December that Kaiser violated federal labor law by withholding scheduled raises and other benefits for Southern California workers who voted to leave Service Employees International Union to join a rival a year ago.

The affected workers are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West and covered by Kaiser’s national agreement with a coalition of labor unions when they voted to leave for the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

After the vote in January 2010, Kaiser refused to pay the workers a 2 percent raise that took effect for coalition members in April and withdrew tuition-reimbursement benefits and paid time off for shop-steward training.

NUHW continues in contract negotiations with Kaiser, but has not reached a deal.

A complaint was filed that argued the coalition agreement covers the workers until they reach a new contract. A judge agreed last month and ordered Kaiser to pay workers what they are owed.

The affidavit states workers became eligible for reimbursement for continuing education expenses, including tuition, effective Dec. 15. Also effective on that day, Kaiser will allow union stewards to attend paid steward training meetings.

The (Unapproved) Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance Blog

One man’s experience with Kaiser.   I have been a member of Kaiser for several years, so I decided to share my experiences (mostly good) and (some) bad about the company.  When many people whine about the company, they are really complaining about a specific Doctor.  It’s just that the Dr. happens to work for Kaiser.  Sometimes young, sometime foreign.  There around truth in some stereotypes, or they would not continue to be around, right?

Also some Doctors at Kaiser have less than a great bedside manner.  You get 15 minutes, they go over your condition and that’s it.  If you want to complain about some other health issue, many will urge you to make an appointment or refer you to a specialist.  That’s not rudeness, it’s efficient! If the Doctors took an hour per patient, premiums would go up 400%! Instead of complaining about the care, people would riot because of the price.  So there will be complaints, many legit.  But compare the size of Kaiser to the complaints.  There were only 7 complaints on the BBB for the San Diego Kaiser on Mt. Zion.

Legal law stuff: I am unauthorized and unsponsored by Kaiser Permanente.  I do not represent Kaiser or have client info or policy data.  Did I mention I am not in any way affiliated or connected to Kaiser?