What are the steps for filing a grievance with Kaiser for malpractice?
Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation's largest health care providers, with dozens of hospitals and millions of members. But when Kaiser patients are harmed as a result of sub-standard or negligent medical treatment, their options are limited when it comes to getting compensation for that harm. Kaiser patients can't just file a medical malpractice lawsuit at the local courthouse.
As part of their enrollment with Kaiser, all prospective members sign a number of documents. These forms include a binding arbitration agreement. And by signing this agreement, Kaiser members are making a promise to adhere to a very specific procedure for resolving prospective medical malpractice claims. Basically, if you're a Kaiser patient and you believe you've been harmed by medical negligence -- whether by your primary doctor or some other Kaiser health care professional -- you must follow Kaiser's out-of-court arbitration process in order to resolve the matter.
In arbitration, both sides of the dispute (represented by their attorneys) make their case before a neutral third party (the arbitrator). There is no jury, and the rules of evidence are more relaxed, but there are aspects of arbitration that are similar to the court process -- including the exchange of information between the parties (discovery) and the presentation of evidence to the arbitrator. Once the arbitrator has heard all the evidence, he or she will make a ruling on whether or not medical malpractice did occur, and if the injured patient is entitled to a damages award, the arbitrator determines the appropriate amount.
Kaiser medical malpractice claims are arbitrated by the Office of the Independent Administrator (OIA), and they must be initiated by a demand for arbitration, which is sent to the OIA, and which must include the patient's personal information, a description of the incident and Kaiser's role in causing the alleged injuries, the amount of money being sought by the patient, and more. For more in-depth information, read the article linked below.
by: David Goguen, J.D.