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Posted on Sat, Aug. 19, 2006

Editorial on Kaiser on target
By Charles Phillips

Your editorial "Kaiser fine a pittance" is on target. Kaiser's attempt to move its renal-transplant patients to its own internal and dysfunctional system is but a symptom of a more fundamental problem.

Kaiser is really a for-profit medical system in which the yearly minimal goal is a 5 percent profit, or $1.8 billion this year. Half of that goes to the physicians -- who really run the HMO (per the Tahoe Agreement, Tahoe Two Agreement and Section K of the KP contract).

A monetary fine that would make a dent in that kind of a profit system would be more in the magnitude of $20 million.

The additional donation of $3 million by Kaiser has no meaning since Kaiser is obligated to spend such monies to avoid taxes. There will only be a shift of funds away from some other project, such as asthma care for the poor.

Phillips, M.D., is a former Kaiser physician who lives in Fresno.