A Review and
The Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on
Hon. Eugene F.
Phillip L. Isenberg. Esq.
January 5, 1998
Kaiser Permanente: A Unique Health.
Background on Kaiser Permanente and Arbitration
A. Why was binding arbitration
B. How much arbitration occurs at
Kaiser Permanente? .................................
C. How does Kaiser Permanente's
to other health plans?
D. Current research on medical
malpractice arbitration in California ................
E. Does other information suggest
problems with Kaiser Permanente's
(1) The California Department of Corporations
a regulatory view
(2) PERS Report
Card: an employer-purchasers view...........................
Permanente surveys: members' views
public opinion polls
The Kaiser Permanente Dispute Resolution System
(Before arbitration) ...........
A. Conversation with the provider of
B. Conversation with higher levels of
local health providers or local
C. Customer Service or Patient
D. Review steps at the local level
E. Review steps at the regional
The Kaiser Permanente Arbitration
A. Demand for arbitration and
B. Confirmation of receipt of the
C. Selection of the party arbitrators
and the neutral arbitrator ...........................
Arbitration for cases of $200,000 or less
Arbitration for cases involving more than $200,000
D. Controlling the progress of the
F. The arbitration
G. Arbitration awards and reports to
government agencies. .............................
The Legal Culture
Arbitration and the Duty of Kaiser Permanente
A. Independent Administration.
B. Advisory Committee
C. Goals of a Revised Kaiser
Permanente Arbitration System ..........................
Time frame for resolution..
Documentation and availability of
Establishing a list of qualified arbitrators
Prompt selection of the neutral arbitrator
Disclosures by potential arbitrators
Protection of privacy
Enhancement of settlement opportunities
Encouraging use of the sole arbitrator
Oversight and monitoring
D. Improvement of the Pre-arbitration
E. Cases Not Involving Medical
F. Speed of
A - Background/Engalla Case/The Panel/The
B - Recommendations Considered but Not Adopted by the Panel.............
C- Memorandum - Re: Post-Nov 1994 Process
D - Letter to David M. Lawrence, M.D. from the Blue Ribbon Panel........
F - Disclosures and Biographical Information about the
In July of
1997, Dr. David
Lawrence, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals,
a three-member Blue Ribbon Panel to advise him on how to improve the
Permanente system of medical malpractice arbitration. This request came
immediately after a decision of the California Supreme Court that was
critical of the Kaiser Permanente system.
analyzed the Kaiser
Permanente arbitration system and attempted
to compare that system to those used by other health care providers.
The Panel also
sought to understand how arbitration was being used in the health care
today. The Panel conducted numerous discussions with interested parties
organizations in an effort to understand how the medical malpractice
system actually works.
recommendations seek to
improve the Kaiser Permanente arbitration
system for all participants. However, the Panel believes that any
system which is
designed to resolve disputes about the quality and practice of medicine
and foremost, assure a fair approach to protecting the rights of
members to adequate
compensation in the event of medical malpractice.
sought to identify the goals of the Kaiser Permanente
arbitration program and make recommendations that would align its
processes and operations in order to achieve those goals. Kaiser
told its members and physicians that arbitration guarantees fairness,
resolution, a less costly process, relative informality, privacy,
definite awards, and
protection of the rights of individuals to adequate compensation in the
malpractice or other legitimate claims. As the sponsor of a mandatory
arbitration. Kaiser Permanente must assure a fair system to their
physicians and staff.
The Panel has
recommendations which may be grouped into the
following general categories:
An Independent Administrator to supervise the medical
arbitration system. (Recommendations 1 to 3)
* A permanent Advisory Committee to assist in this
administration. (Recommendation 4 )
* A clear statement of the goals of arbitration
and communication of
these goals to members, physicians and employer-purchasers.
8 and 32)
* An expedited,
efficient and fair process for arbitration. (Recommendations
5 to 24 and 33)
* Encouragement of early settlement discussions.
(Recommendations 25 and
Incentives to promote the use of single arbitrators.
* Methods to audit and monitor the progress of the
Administrator and to conduct research and evaluate the fairness and
the arbitration system. (Recommendations 28 to 30)
of an ombudsperson program to assist members in navigating the
system of dispute resolution. (Recommendation 31)
* A short
time period to accomplish the major changes. (Recommendations
34 to 36)
of the Panel's recommendations would put Kaiser Permanente, once
again, at the forefront of change in American health care. The Panel
sees this as a
positive result, one fully consistent with the history and philosophy
organization. Kaiser Permanente has led in the field of health care for
there is no reason it should not do the same in the area of arbitration.
In July of
1997, David M.
Lawrence, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser
assembled this Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Arbitration. Our mandate
''. . . evaluate the arbitration
process and to recommend improvements to that
The genesis of
Advisory Panel was the decision of the California
Supreme Court in Engalla
vs. Permanente.2 In harsh terms,
the court criticized the
arbitration plan for failing to guarantee the rapid appointment of
a neutral arbitrator. The Court also observed that the average time
conclude most arbitrations was too long and inconsistent with Kaiser
promise to its members of a speedy process.
appointment we have
conducted weekly meetings, and held
discussions with Kaiser Permanente physicians, staff, in-house and
attorneys and management of the organization. In addition, we have met
1A copy of our mandate from
Kaiser Permanente is attached as Exhibit A.
2Engalla v. Permanente Medical
Group, 64 Cal.Rptr.2d 843 (1997). This case has been
remanded to Superior Court for further proceedings.
3The health care institution
commonly known as "Kaiser" is actually a combination of
organizations. First, the Kaiser Foundation
Health Plan, Inc. is a California nonprofit health
benefit corporation, and a federally qualified
Health Plan arranges for medical benefit:
contracting exclusively with The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.
(Northern California) and
Southern California Permanente Medical Group. Hospital services are
provided by contract
Foundation Hospitals, another California nonprofit public benefit
Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and the Medical Groups work
collaboratively as the Kaiser Permanente
Medical Care Program or 'Kaiser Permanente."
our report we have used the description "Kaiser Permanente". Although
legally accurate in
every case, we find that designation important. We have learned that
efforts of the Kaiser
administration and the physician medical groups have a long history. We
view the relations as a collaborative effort,
benefit of members. Thus, our use of this joint
for Kaiser Permanente members, consumer advocates, academics and
researchers, state agencies and
and have attempted to understand
available research relating to arbitration. We have also reviewed court
decisions, statutes, academic
various public agency reports. In
we have studied material submitted by Kaiser Permanente. 5
report contains our conclusions and recommendations to Kaiser
Permanente. However, we wish to
make note of what we have not
have not attempted to resolve the question of whether the arbitration
of medical malpractice disputes
is a desirable or undesirable option - whether
viewed from the position of Kaiser
the members of that health plan, or
the general public. That is,
surely, a worthy
question, but beyond the scope of our
we have not attempted to re-evaluate the Engalla decision. We
believe, however, many of the
concerns raised by the Court are addressed by our
we deliberately did not pursue the question of the cost of arbitration
Permanente, its members, physicians or employer-purchasers. Cost is
important, but our mandate was to
needed change, not to weigh
considerations against the need for such change.
in the limited time available we were only able to examine the Kaiser
Permanente arbitration system in
California. Whether any of these recommendations
are applicable elsewhere in
was a question we lacked the time to answer
recommendations therefore assume that Kaiser would continue some
form of arbitration of
malpractice and other disputes. Our mandate was to study the
present system and suggest changes.
member Phil lsenberg has not participated in meetings or conversations
or legislative staff. As a former legislator, the "revolving door"
provisions of state law
him for one year after leaving office.
list of the individuals, groups and organizations that provided us with
attached. We express
appreciation to all of those who participated in our discussions.
Permanente: A Unique Health Plan
the largest HMO in America, and the trend setter for the managed care
revolution in this country.
Kaiser Permanente is unique. It started as an experiment
in prepaid health care for American workers, first at Grand Coulee Dam,
the hundreds of thousands of workers who came to the shipyards and
Kaiser during World War II. Some suggest that the creation of an
based health system was a hardheaded calculation by Henry J. and Edgar
that good health for workers was good for business. Whatever the
Permanente is, in many ways, the prototype of the modem American health
Kaiser Permanente operates in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
As of September 1997 it served
8,840,936 members who were provided benefits
through 86,499 different employers. Kaiser Permanente employs
90,000 people; over 10,000 physicians provide care to Kaiser Permanente
The combined assets of the organization are $12.4 billion.7
Sixty percent of all
Kaiser Permanente members are in California.
Permanente has always been at the cutting edge of the health care
industry. For decades, organized
medicine resisted the presence of prepaid health
plans, preferring the traditional fee-for-service system.8
Elements of this
controversy continue today. It appears to us that much of the current
managed care and medical malpractice focuses on the problems that exist
delivery of quality health care in America,9 not
just within Kaiser Permanente.
this process, we were also drawn into a brief examination of the ways
in which medical malpractice
might be avoided and how dispute resolution
S. Foster, Henry J.
Kaiser: Builder in the Modern American West (1989),
University of Texas
Press, Austin, Texas. See pp. 211-231.
7Kaiser Permanente Statistics for
October 1997, Communications Department, Kaiser
The Social Transformation of American Medicine (1982), Basic Books,
Inc., New York, NY,
R. Chassin. "Assessing Strategics for Quality Improvement," Health
May/June 1997, pp.
procedures affect quality assurance in the medical setting. While not
part of our
mandate, we were impressed with some of the work in this field.10 The approach
based on the notion that the traditional fault-finding method of our
court system and
traditional arbitration might not be the best way to prevent the
medical malpractice. Those interested in this field suggest that an
alternative is to
develop an environment where blame is avoided, the duty to report
mistakes is taken
for granted and ways are found to change the medical system to avoid
in the future.
would be of immense value if Kaiser Permanente would expand its efforts
in this area.
on Kaiser Permanente and Arbitration
California's single biggest HMO user of binding
arbitration to resolve malpractice claims.11
This practice started in 1971 and its use
today is the universal form of required dispute resolution for Kaiser
Even more singular, the Health Plan contracts to defend and indemnify
physicians and Permanente Medical Groups for medical malpractice. Given
current national and California efforts to impose health plan
liability, it is worth
noting that Kaiser Permanente already assumes that contractual
Kaiser Permanente arbitration system is used for a variety of disputes
between patients, family members and the Kaiser system itself. Although
over the years, the current language on binding arbitration provides
that a claim
must arise from or be related
. . . to an alleged
violation of any duty incident to or arising out of or
including any claim for medical or
premises liability, or relating to the
10A fascinating discussion
is found in Lisa Belkin's article, How
Can We Save the Next
York Times Magazine. June 15, 1997.
11 Testimony of the
California Association of Health Plans (formerly CAHMO),Assembly
Judiciary Committee hearing on
"HMO Malpractice; Engalla, ERISA and Protecting Patients
Rights," August 14,1997.
coverage for. or delivery of,
services or items pursuant to this
irrespective of the
legal theories upon which the claim is
arbitration is available
for medical malpractice cases, it is also used
for premises liability and coverage disputes. We were told that
of all arbitration cases allege medical malpractice. We note a concern
some that the system might face increasing complaints relating to
coverage. While an intriguing possibility, we were unable to address
for lack of evidence. However, we do suggest that the unique
coverage or benefit cases may demand a far more speedy system than one
for medical malpractice - though all arbitration should be speedy in
our investigation we were also interested to learn that the California
Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS or PERS) and apparently
employers, have an independent course of adjudication for their members
benefit and coverage disputes. PERS members, for example, are advised
these purposes they ". . . can
choose to appeal to CalPERS rather than going
binding arbitration."13 Likewise,
PERS members who receive Medicare
benefits, but supplement them through Kaiser Permanente, have
alternative means of
resolving benefit and coverage matters. We asked about the number of
members who were choosing this alternative over arbitration, but the
was not available.14
was binding arbitration adopted?
its system of arbitration, a number of
benefits were suggested to its members:
12Group Medical and Hospital
Service Agreement (Northern California Region) 1997,
13Health Care Service Plan
Decision Guide (1998), CalPERS, p. 19.
14Discussion with PERS
representatives Margaret T. Stanley, Assistant Executive Officer,
Health Benefit Services; Fred
Chief, Health Plan Administration Division and Laura Rosenthal, Legal
Department, November 4, 1997
was asserted to be faster
than the traditional court system.
Arbitration was asserted to be less
expensive than the traditional court
was asserted to be better
able to protect the privacy of the
health plan enrollees as well as
the physicians involved than the traditional court
was believed to be more
flexible and better able to
accommodate the schedules of
parties and expert witnesses, than the court system.
was alleged to be both more
fair and sound in decisions and
awards than the court system.
or at least binding arbitration, was final and not
subject to court
except in limited circumstances
* Arbitration was able to provide a fair approach to protecting the rights of
compensation in the event of medical malpractice.15
discuss later in this report whether these original assertions still
previously noted that Kaiser is California's primary user of
arbitration to resolve medical
malpractice claims. It is unclear why the rest of the
health care system in California is not also using arbitration for
However, many suggest, and we agree with this assessment, that the
passage of The
Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA) may be the
Certainly, the limitation of attorney fees and pain and suffering
awards imposed by
MICRA makes it less likely that medical malpractice litigation or
started. In addition, beginning in 1987 the courts of California have
in an experiment designed to expedite the court process.
Called "Fast Track," this
legislatively mandated effort has achieved some notable success in
delay in civil cases.
for Health, Winter, 1975, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
much arbitration occurs at Kaiser Permanente?
put this issue into context we asked Kaiser Permanente for information
arbitrations filed in recent years. From 1992 to September 1997 there
were a total
of 5,313 Demands for Arbitration filed (including some court-filed
Complaints). The charts provided to us follow.
Arbitration Statistics -
Clams by Calendar Year
|Number of Demands
for Arbitration and
Summons & Complaints
|No. of Settlements
|No. of Abandonment/
*For data ending September 30, 1997.
Chart 2 reflects activity in each of the listed categories for a given
calendar year an
includes activity in cases that were commenced in prior years.
Permanente advises us that these figures are not totally reliable. The
Northern and Southern divisions have merged this year. Prior to that
division kept its statistics independently, apparently with different
characterization of issues and outcome. This chart represents the best
Kaiser Permanente staff at this time.
of the figures
suggests the following:
The actual number of
Demands for Arbitration (or court filed Complaints,
most of which end in arbitration) began to rise in 1995.
of Kaiser Permanente members actually filing a Demand for
Arbitration is quite small, approximately two hundredths of one percent
the annual membership in 1996.16
number of settlements and the number of Demands which are
abandoned or dismissed appears consistent. However, we did note the
of abandoned or dismissed Demands for 1997. We are advised that the
the increase is the higher level of attention now paid to expediting
undoubtedly attributable to increased activity after the Engalla decision.
words. Kaiser Permanente appears to be clearing a backlog of cases.
Figures for 1992 appear to be low in the number of
dismissals. However, this may be attributable to poor data systems.
attorneys representing Kaiser Permanente members have
suggested to us that the relatively high rate of abandoned or dismissed
the existence of a problem - either too high costs for arbitration, or
the belief that the
system is weighted in favor of Kaiser Permanente - we do not believe
conclusion can be reached without more information. As the next few
this report indicate, needed additional information is m short supply.
many of our recommendations are directed at the assertion that the
system is too
16In 1996, the Kaiser
Permanente membership was 4,987,289. That year 958 Demands
for Arbitration (or Summons &
Complaints) were filed.
memorandum describing some of the changes in administration of the
arbitration system since November of 1994 is attached as Appendix C to
heavily weighted in favor of Kaiser Permanente. Whether the charge of
is real or perceived makes little difference - any changed system must
be fair to all
the encouraging steps taken by Kaiser Permanente immediately prior
to this study has been the merger
of the legal departments of their Northern and
Southern California Regions. We believe this will assist in a number of
more consistent record-keeping processes and data systems, 2)
monitoring of time
deadlines and the progress of cases and 3) hopefully a greater use of
tools in an effort to expedite and resolve these matters.
does Kaiser Permanente's arbitration compare to other health
attempted to determine whether the facts we had, standing alone, suggest
the presence of any major problem
in the Kaiser Permanente arbitration system. We
sought comparisons that might exist with other systems of arbitration.
is Kaiser Permanente's system slower than others? It is more
or less costly? Is
there a higher level of member satisfaction with other systems? These
other questions are ways to determine if this arbitration system works.
we were looking for a prototype of the ideal system of
arbitration for medical
malpractice. Unfortunately, we found none. Our discussions
with arbitration providers, attorneys for plaintiffs and for Kaiser
academics and consumer groups has made one thing quite clear: there is no body of
allows us to meaningfully compare the Kaiser
system of arbitration
to systems run by other health plans or to
there is nothing like the recommended court case processing
standards developed and advocated
by the American Bar Association and
incorporated into California's Fast Track judicial rules. As previously
California Association of Health Plans (formerly CAHMO) reported that
other health plan in California has a party-administered or
system. So, in some sense, no real comparison can be found in
Whatever else this report leads to, we
hope it promotes the development of
information, research and evaluation which can answer some of the
stymied us. We believe that Kaiser Permanente is able to promote such
and benefit from the results.
research on medical malpractice arbitration in California
The most current information on health care
arbitration in California comes
a pending study by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice (RAND) 18
discussed with us their findings, as well as prior research on court-
RAND requested we not release the details of their
new study until it is
However, we are able to discuss the general conclusions of the report.
These conclusions surprised us.
* RAND found that the use of arbitration in health care is
*RAND found that even though used infrequently, it is far
more common for
to use arbitration than for individual physicians, hospitals or other
*RAND found that even among HMOs that use arbitration, only a
Kaiser), use it for medical malpractice cases.
Finally, RAND found that there is little information
available upon which to
the performance of any particular arbitration system. Nothing we found
during our work suggests
from those of RAND.
other information suggest problems with
Kaiser Permanente's arbitration?
Elizabeth A. Rolph, Erik Moller and John E. Rolph, Arbitration Agreements in Health
Contemporary Problems, forthcoming.
California Department of Corporations Complaint
Program: a regulatory view
search of other information that might give us some indication of
or not a
problem exists in the Kaiser Permanente arbitration system, we
reviewed the Health Care Service Plan Enrollees Complaint Data reports
These reports are based on a toll-free 800 number program established
on October 10, 1995. The Commissioner of Corporations notifies all
members in California that this service is available. In addition,
health plans are
required to regularly advertise the availability of such a complaint
Complaint Data reports use a complicated set of thirty-two (32)
categories ("Requests for Assistance" in the vernacular of the
Department.) These complaints are grouped in four generic areas:
Benefits/Coverage, Claims and Quality of Care. Since the program is
new, it is difficult to determine whether the information is
to show no significant problems associated with Kaiser
Permanente. This survey does not, however, directly focus on dispute
Report Card: an employer-purchasers view
significant number of Kaiser Permanente members in California are also
of the California Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). On a
regular basis, PERS surveys its members to identify any quality of care
with their HMOs and PPOs. This information, in the form of a quality of
card, is regularly made available to PERS members. The most recent
published in September 1997.21
Care Service Plan Enrollee Complaint Data, California Department of
1995 only 1,964 enrollee Requests for Assistance were received (from
members of 3 9 HMOs); in 1996 the Requests for Assistance increased to
over 19,000,000 enrollees.) The Department of Corporations expects this
total to expand as
knowledge of the program grows.
Care Plan Decision Guide, pp. 4-10.
to the latest report. Kaiser Permanente ranks among the highest
performing HMOs, based on
preventive medical care (childhood immunizations,
cholesterol screening, prenatal care, cervical cancer screening, breast
screening, diabetic eye examinations, etc.) Although important and
population-based health outcomes and the quality of Kaiser Permanente
the studies provide no direct information on arbitration or dispute
health plans, whether HMOs or PPOs. PERS members were asked about
PERS also surveyed their members to determine general levels of
satisfaction with their physician, the health plan itself, ability to
be referred to
specialists, and their view of their own specialists. In this
comparison Kaiser was
rated highly in every category.
My Health Plan To A Friend?"
Kaiser members said yes by a substantial margin -
Finally, when asked the question of whether a member "Would Recommend
93% to 95% for the Basic Plan members; 97 to 98% for the Medicare Plan
Permanente surveys: members' views
also reviewed some member satisfaction surveys conducted by Kaiser
Permanente. Unfortunately, a 1991
survey of Southern California members was the
only Kaiser Permanente survey which directly addressed the subject of
asked if a "serious problem" had occurred during the study period,
fourteen percent (14%) of Kaiser
Permanente members surveyed said yes; eighty-six
percent (86%) said no.
sixty-two percent (62%) of the complaining members (8.7% of the
total members surveyed) even
contacted Kaiser Permanente to discuss the problem.
percent (25%) of those with a problem spoke to their
physician; another sixteen
percent (16%) to a nurse or other staff; seventeen percent
Member Services Conference. Complaint Resolution Survey (1991),
(17%) spoke to Member Services; five percent
(5%) spoke to Patient Assistance;
fifteen percent (15%) spoke to "other health plans" and twenty-two
gave other responses or just didn't know with whom they spoke.
percent (61%) of complaints referred to something other than
care. Thirty-four percent (34%) complained about making appointments;
sixteen percent (16%) had a complaint about Administration; seven
had some general service issue and four percent (4%) complained about
and services. (Complainants for non-medical care represented 5.3% of
percent (39%) of the Kaiser Permanente members who
(representing 3.39% of the members surveyed) did so about a physician.
Unfortunately, there was no information available that would help us
precise nature of the complaint, nor whether an allegation of medical
is no information on how many of these complaints ever resulted in a
4) Recent public
this report was being completed a series of new public opinion surveys
published. In one form or another the surveys asked about member
satisfaction with managed care health plans. None of the studies
directly dealt with
Kaiser Permanente. They included national, state and regional surveys
care in general. Nonetheless, they generated a great deal of press
attention and we
briefly examined the reports23
Findings: Survey of Consumer Experiences in Managed Care, prepared
The Lewin Group for
the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Sierra Health Foundation and the
California Wellness Foundation (November 1997); Kaiser/Harvard National
Americans' View of Managed Care, Kaiser-Harvard Program on the Public
Policy, conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates (December
Findings of 1997 Survey of Californians' Experiences with Managed Care,
California's Managed Health Care Improvement Task Force by the Field
(November 1997) and a news report in the Los Angeles Times December 5,
1997 p. Dl .
sought in: vain for information on medical malpractice arbitration. The
federal study of Medicare recipient dropout rates from managed care, for
example, seemed to show California in a favorable light. The Los Angeles Times
reported that thirteen percent (13%) of Medicare recipients left their
HMO in 1996.
For California the overall figure was 10.6%. In addition the
"disenrollment" rate for
Kaiser Permanente was extremely low at 2.6% in Northern California and
more pertinent of the surveys involved a study of managed care members
Sacramento region. Titled "Preliminary
Findings: Survey of Consumer
in Managed Care,
this report focused on the prevalence of
difficulties that members have had with health plans. The report found
twenty-seven percent (27%) of all those surveyed had some problem with
managed care plan in the last twelve months. Those insured by Medicaid
the highest level of problems at forty-two percent (42%) and those
Medicare reported the lowest at seventeen percent (17%.) Almost thirty
(30%) of those with complaints took no action on their complaint.
report did find that sixty-nine percent (69%) of those with complaints
had no loss of
income associated with the problem; sixty-eight percent (68%) had no
loss of time
from work, school or other major activities and sixty-one percent (61%)
was no potential for physical injury associated with their complaint.
types of difficulties reported were delay or denial of coverage (42%),
getting a physician (32%), inappropriate care (11%), customer
service issues (9%), enrollment or eligibility problems (7%) and billing
on complaint resolution, the survey also showed that forty-five
(45%) of those who complained were satisfied with the outcome; nineteen
percent (19%) were dissatisfied and thirty-five percent (35%) bad not
the problem. Part of the focus of the study was to determine whether
patients would have appreciated more assistance in resolving their
sixty-six percent (66%) said yes.
with fee-for-service medical coverage and those with no
whatsoever were excluded from the survey. As a result, it is quite
difficult to make comparisons between types of health care systems,
and the ways of resolving those problems.
reports add to a growing body of information about managed care and
views of health care in general. Unfortunately, none is directed at
medical malpractice arbitration and, with limited exceptions, the study
dispute resolution methods is in short supply.
we have concluded that until better information is available, few
about arbitration will be resolved by reference to facts and evidence.
Kaiser Permanente Dispute Resolution System (Before arbitration)
before any individual chooses to file a Demand for Arbitration there is
dispute resolution structure within the Kaiser Permanente
system. The following summary is largely taken from a variety of Kaiser
documents made available to members.25
we have summarized the dispute resolution process as we understand
have found the grievance process difficult to understand, in
spite of what
would appear to be a good faith attempt to explain the system, and
information to members, we were left with no clear view of the process.
We are informed that in 1997, the two California Health Plan
began to consolidate into a single organization. We believe much of the
in understanding the process stems from differences between the
Medical and Hospital Service Agreement (1997), Kaiser Foundation Health
Northern California Region; Member
Rights and Responsibilities (1997), Kaiser
Permanente, Your Plan
Plan & Evidence of Coverage (1997), Kaiser
Permanente, Senior Advantage,
Services & Benefits: Disclosure Form &
Evidence of Coverage
(1998), Kaiser Permanente; The
Guidebook to Kaiser Permanente Services (1997), Kaiser
Permanente, Southern California Region; Combined Evidence of Coverage
& Disclosure Form,
Medicare Plan, CalPERS and Kaiser Permanente (1998),
with Lisa Kolton and
Leslie King, Regulatory' Services & Member Services, Kaiser
organizations. While not a major part of our recommendations, there is
a need to
better explain the grievance procedure to members.
with the provider of care
Kaiser Permanente system encourages members to first discuss their
complaints with the treating physician. In addition, it appears that
are also encouraged to register their complaints with other medical
noted with interest a new Service Guarantee Program in Northern
which offers to refund up to $25 of a co-payment if the member is not
satisfied with the services rendered. For those members who do not have
payment, a $5 voucher for over-the-counter pharmaceuticals is
available. A similar
program is now underway in San Diego.26
with higher levels of local health providers or local
steps are also available - talking to the next level of medical
or facility managers. In this case, the member can talk to the Chief of
Service, the physician in charge of the unit or department where the
provided. A nurse or lay administrator is also available for
conversations. There is
also the possibility of talking to the Medical Group Administrator or
Director of Services (if care in a hospital is at issue).
briefly described the possible informal avenues of discussion we
help but note that the public information available to members only
passing reference to these options. We have no doubt that they exist
that many members talk to their health care providers directly about
problems. However, this does not appear to the be a formal part of the
26Planning for Health:
1997, p. 4.
Service or Patient Assistance
first formal contact is with a Customer
or Member Service
the health plan) or a Patient
Assistance Coordinator (for the
medical group). These officials receive complaints both orally and in
we are told, the complaints cover a wide range of subjects, from
rates, to delays in answering telephone calls, to more serious matters.27
is also a Customer
Service Call Center (1.800.464.4000 in English
and 1.800.788.0616 in Spanish)
available in the Kaiser Permanente system.
Although more focused on cost and coverage questions, this call system
point for members to request assistance on problems they have with
complaints are processed through the system they are often resolved or
by the member, according to the report of Kaiser Permanente staff.
Unfortunately, there is no hard evidence about the entire universe of
although limited information suggests that cost, coverage and service
far more common than complaints of inadequate medical care.
steps at the local level
member may submit a grievance to the facility Customer/Member
Representative. Receipt is to be acknowledged in writing within five (5)
business days. A Member/Patient
Grievance Committee will make a decision
within thirty (30) days of receipt of the grievance, although an
extension to sixty
(60) days can be allowed if additional information is required.28
occasion, some Kaiser Permanente printed material also refers people to
Services office, which
is the same as the mentioned Representative or Coordinator. To
further complicate things, CalPERS information refers to Customer
Service in Northern
California, Member Services in Southern California and a Regional
We are advised that within the last thirty days an attempt to
standardize the Kaiser Permanente
lexicon is in progress.
somewhat confusing process follows. Apparently, the member may request
reconsideration of a
decision, although it is not clear whether the reconsideration is with
Grievance Committee or the Grievance Appeal Committee.
steps at the regional level
the member objects to the decision of the Grievance Committee, an appeal
can be filed with the Regional
Grievance Appeals Committee. It appears that at
least sixty (60) days are allowed for filing an appeal. However; we did
not have the
opportunity to examine any of the individual contracts for health care
signed by Kaiser Permanente and purchasers, nor did we attempt to
different rules imposed by the California Department of Corporations
federal government, under the Medicare program. We are told by Kaiser
Permanente legal staff that there are varying deadlines for some of
We highlight this point only to suggest that a clear explanation of the
process is necessary.
appeal will be resolved by a written decision mailed to the member
within thirty (30) days of the
receipt of the notice of appeal.
member may attend both the Grievance Committee and the Appeals
Committee hearing, although a
confusing mention of the Member/Patient Initial
of the regional review process there are expedited reviews of out-of-
Plan emergency matters, appeals
of Medicare members, some involvement in out-
of-area case management, and a relatively new Ombudsman Program,
limited to the review of new technology for experimental procedures.
there are also reviews ordered by the senior executives of Kaiser
number of whom may receive complaints from Kaiser Permanente members.
points of review and contact deserve mention. For example, there
is a special process for Medicare
beneficiaries focusing on the permitted length of
patient stay and quality of care in hospitals. In addition, there are
longstanding Kaiser Foundation Health Plan quality review process
Medical Group peer
exhaustion of these informal and formal grievance procedures leaves a
dissatisfied member with only one
option: demanding arbitration.
Kaiser Permanente Arbitration System
Kaiser Permanente arbitration system is a complex and involved
process. Once it begins, both sides gear up with a host of attorneys,
witnesses, medical personnel and arbitrators. We have spoken to many
these positions. Without exception they appear to be rational and
individuals, concerned with reaching a fair result in arbitration.
are also struck with how easily all participants fall into
traditional litigation patterns. Once formal arbitration begins they
all develop their
arbitration plans, read records, conduct discovery, prepare testimony
and behave as
if a court trial were the end result.
This is not
the original goals of arbitration seem to
fade into the background, to be replaced with the values of a legal
system that prizes
procedural formalism and winning over other virtues.
We believe the
of a system of arbitration should be consistent with
the values, purposes and goals set for it. At regular intervals Kaiser
members and physicians should ask themselves whether their own goals
met. We discuss later how and in what ways we believe the Kaiser
system must be organized to be consistent with its articulated goals.
discussion of the procedural steps in arbitration describes the
current Kaiser Permanente practice, as we understand it. The system
has, of course,
changed in many ways in recent years - as the result of statutory
decisions and internal actions of Kaiser Permanente. 29
for arbitration and $150
A member files
Demand for Arbitration. The preferred method is to
are still many minor differences between the arbitration procedures
California and Southern California. We have not tried to describe most
differences. It is our hope that the merger of the two
separate Kaiser Permanente Regions,
unification of the legal departments, and implementation of our
recommendations, will soon lead
to a single process throughout California.
send the Demand to the legal office of the Kaiser Health Plan. Kaiser
informed us that they will accept any form of written notification.
with receipt of the Demand, the member is required to deposit
$150. This sum, together with a like amount from Kaiser Permanente, is
m a trust account (non-interest bearing, for some reason) and used to
cover the costs
health plans utilizing arbitration to resolve member disputes are
required to assume a share of fees and expenses of arbitration except
". . . in cases
The decision on the hardship application is made by a neutral
arbitrator selected by the parties, or by the Superior Court if they
of receipt of the Demand
acknowledges receipt of the Demand within ten (10)
days. At approximately the same time an outside attorney for Kaiser
selected and the medical records are forwarded to that attorney. We
believe that at
the moment Kaiser Permanente's attorney receives these records, the
attorney should receive them as well. As with most businesses retaining
attorneys, Kaiser Permanente periodically provides information,
rules of conduct for their attorneys.
of the party arbitrators and the neutral arbitrator
many other things occur in the early stages of arbitration, the next
formal step is for the parties to select their party arbitrators, and
for the party
arbitrators to select a neutral arbitrator. This process is constrained
by a number of
California statutes that govern health plan arbitration.
system does not utilize the services of any firm that
provides neutral arbitrators. Instead, the party arbitrators trade
lists of names that
30Services & Benefits:
Disclosure Form and Evidence of Coverage (1998), Kaiser
Permanente, p. 37
Health & Safety Code Section 1373.20 (c).
are deemed acceptable. Eventually a neutral arbitrator is appointed by
However, there is no appointment unless one side, usually the member's
demands the appointment. As a result of the Engalla case. Kaiser
started to demand the appointment of the neutral arbitrator at an early
stage in the
than participating in the selection of the neutral arbitrator, and
the actual arbitration hearing, the party arbitrators apparently play
no other role in
the process. Attorneys for Kaiser Permanente and the members handle the
for cases of $200,000 or less
effective January 1, 1997, any dispute where claims do
not exceed $200,000 shall be heard by a single neutral arbitrator,
unless the parties
agree to the contrary in writing. Because Kaiser Permanente does not
utilize an independent dispute resolution service, should the parties
not be able to
agree upon a neutral arbitrator, any party can immediately request the
Court to appoint the neutral arbitrator.32
for cases involving more than S200,000
than $200,000, a three-person arbitration panel is
standard (although the parties can agree to a single neutral
arbitrator). The three-
person panel is composed of one neutral arbitrator and two party
party selects one of the party arbitrators to represent their views.
arbitrator is selected by the party arbitrators within 30 days after
service of a written
demand for selection by either party.33
Health & Safety Code Section 1373.19. See California
Code of Civil
Section 1281.6 for the method of request and selection.
Evidence of Coverage & Disclosure Form, Basic Plan &
Kaiser Permanente, for CalPERS (1998), p. 34, California Health
& Safety Code Section
the party arbitrators cannot agree on a neutral arbitrator, then my
petition the Superior Court to make the appointment.34 Under
California Code of
Civil Procedure Section 1373.19, inability to select a neutral
arbitrator creates a
conclusive presumption that the Superior Court may act to make the
However, it should be noted that involvement of the Superior Court,
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1281.6, is not automatic.
One of the
parties must petition the court to appoint the neutral arbitrator.
To answer one
question raised repeatedly by attorneys for members: Yes,
Kaiser Permanente does maintain a list of acceptable party arbitrators
(at least in
We saw no such list for neutral arbitrators and are advised
by Kaiser Permanente staff that no such list exists. However, we have
no doubt that
Kaiser Permanente has a very good idea of the particular neutral
would prefer handle their cases. We also have no doubt they act on that
yes, attorneys for members apparently also have access to background
and rating analysis of arbitrators, which provides similar but not
We have no doubt that the attorneys for members also act to achieve
the progress of the case
arbitrator is selected, he or she decides all motions relating
to discovery and makes other judgments appropriate under statute.
discussions with attorneys, arbitrators and Kaiser Permanente
administrators left us with the strong impression that unless the
or the neutral arbitrator pushes a case forward, little may happen. In
attorneys for either side may not be interested in pushing for a speedy
These decisions to delay may be for good and proper tactical reasons.
35Southern California Litigation
Manual, Revised February 1997, p. II.
36Arbitrators, Paralegal. Legal
Secretary Publications, Consumer Attorneys Association
Los Angeles (CAALA), 1996. (101-page book in
which arbitrators are rated by CAALA
members. Includes ratings and comments.)
court thought the long average duration of Kaiser Permanente arbitration
cases troubling. We agree and suggest the absence of independent
the system may explain much of this delay.
is conducted in arbitration as in court, under the provisions of
California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1283.05, et seq.. Apparently
production of medical records is accomplished fairly promptly in most
believe that should be a standard for all cases). We are told
that depositions of
complaining members are often done at an early stage of the proceeding.
discussions with practitioners, however, suggest that both parties tend
delay the depositions of expert witnesses until late in the arbitration
suspect that some of the delay in case processing is attributable to
this delay in
aggressively pursuing discovery. Delaying depositions of expert
common in court litigation and is generally caused by the high cost of
formal step in
arbitration is the hearing itself. There is no deadline
for holding the hearing. Some neutral arbitrators, we are told,
the case forward, even over the objections of attorneys for the
parties. This does
not appear to be the ordinary practice. A common refrain among the
neutral arbitrators to whom we spoke is the difficulty of scheduling
hearings to meet
the convenience of attorneys, expert witnesses, the parties, both party
and the neutral arbitrator. Just listing the number of people involved
Once a hearing
is commenced it is
usually resolved in no more than three (3)
days, although no statistical information exists to prove this claim.
was represented to be the average time for hearing by both attorneys
and attorneys for Kaiser Permanente.
One complaint registered by some is that, on occasion, a hearing will be
discontinuous; part of the hearing on one day, the rest some time
later. If true, this
seems to us a troublesome fact.
awards and reports to government agencies
At the end of
the arbitration the neutral arbitrator will make a decision. The
party arbitrators sit in during the actual hearing or, in some cases,
with the neutral arbitrator to talk about the case. It seems to be
recognized that the neutral arbitrator actually makes the decision and
one or the
other party arbitrator goes along with that decision.
decision is a
brief statement of the award, although some neutral
arbitrators prepare a more formal document. There is no requirement in
Permanente system for a written award including reasoning for the
Whatever written award is given is provided to the parties and is not
the case involves more than writing a settlement check. Perhaps as
important are the mandatory reporting requirements of state and federal
California, reports of arbitration awards or settlements of more than
required to be reported to appropriate medical regulatory boards ". . .
for death or
caused by that person's negligence, error, or omission
or rendering of
unauthorized professional services. "37
There are also
federal reporting requirements under the Health Care Quality
Improvement Act of
1986, PL 99-660.
striking feature of the Kaiser Permanente arbitration system -
in other arbitration systems in the United States - is the strong
presence of attorneys
and the legal culture they bring with them. The able attorneys who
Permanente members, and the equally competent attorneys who represent
Permanente and their physicians, dominate arbitration. Likewise, the
arbitrators, who are almost always attorneys, and neutral arbitrators,
Business & Professions Code Sections 800, et seq.
are commonly retired judges, strongly affects the system we have been
in this report we listed the benefits of arbitration asserted by Kaiser
Permanente. It is clear those claims assumed arbitration was always
better than the
traditional California court system. To us, the Kaiser Permanente
studied seems to be becoming more and more like the court process. While
arbitration is somewhat more low-keyed than a court trial, it is as
does not necessarily process cases any more rapidly. The evidence is
unclear on the
comparative costs of arbitration versus court, but many have suggested
to us that the
hard dollar costs may be roughly equal. The Kaiser Permanente
is clearly run to meet the schedules and competing demands of the
are arbitrators and those attorneys who represent clients - as the
court system is run
by and for the procedural convenience of judges and attorneys.
it appears that the sum of individual arbitrations "managed" by
attorneys for members and attorneys for Kaiser Permanente does not
produce an overall system which is speedy, low cost and just. We then
ourselves these questions: can the attorneys for the parties really
control the Kaiser Permanente arbitration system? And even if they are
manage the system through their work on individual cases, can they do
so in the best
interests of the millions of Kaiser Permanente members, the physicians,
concluded that the
present system is essentially unmanaged. And
we have come to believe it is unrealistic to expect individual
attorneys to be
responsible for managing .the Kaiser Permanente arbitration system.
That has led us
to at least one strong recommendation of this report: the selection of
Administrator for the system.
are under a clear ethical and legal duty to
represent their clients and to pursue their interests before any other.38
They have no
choice in the matter and in the American system of civil justice we
would have it no
Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Preamble, paragraph 2; Rule 3-300,
Professional Conduct of the
State Bar of California and Discussion.
We also believe that complicated medical malpractice, benefit and
cases require the presence of legal counsel. It would be an
extraordinary person, or
someone quite unrealistic, who would alone assume the duty of
collection of complicated medical evidence and understanding of the
all without an attorney. We are concerned, however, that
talented practitioners in
the court system might unconsciously bring with them some of the less
features of litigation - contrary to the goals of those who created the
Permanente system of arbitration.
consequences to a
system that so completely relies on attorneys.
And these consequences lead us to many of our recommendations.
and the Duty of Kaiser Permanente
It is clear to
us that the
dispute about Kaiser Permanente's arbitration system
is more than just a discussion of an appropriate legal process, time
manner of decision. Imposing a mandatory arbitration system means that
Permanente is implicitly representing to its members that the system is
reasonable and just. We strongly believe that Kaiser Permanente must
strongly, we believe that
the employers who contract with Kaiser
Permanente have an obligation to see that the medical malpractice
system is fair to their employees.
member may choose to
leave Kaiser Permanente and select
another health plan. However, the limited evidence available suggests
Kaiser Permanente members stay with the system even after arbitration.
members may have no realistic, economical alternative to continued
with Kaiser Permanente. In addition, their employers may offer no
Continuing to provide medical care to a member pursuing arbitration
Robinson and Mollyanne Brodie, 'Understanding The Quality Challenge for
Consumers: The Kaiser/AHCPR Survey," The Joint Commission Journal on
1997, Joel C. Cantor, Stephen H. Long and Susan Marquis, "Private
Based Insurance in Ten States," Health
Affairs, Summer 1995, KPMG Peat Marwick, Health
imposes special strain and obligation on Kaiser Permanente.
It is not
Kaiser Permanente to transfer responsibility for managing
arbitration to an independent party. It is essential that Kaiser
Permanente, and its
employer representatives, guarantee that the system established is a
reasonable one. The most effective way to do this is to specify exactly
arbitration system is expected to deliver.
that Kaiser Permanente
owes a number of duties to its members
* A duty to
publicly identify the
goals of a fair arbitration system;
inform their members and physicians of these goals;
duty to guarantee the goals of a speedy arbitration process, low costs
and essential fairness;
duty to select
administrator who will control the
process of arbitration in accord with these goals;
* A duty to
see that the Independent
Administrator guarantees the goals are
duty to establish regular
audits and reviews of the system to examine
whether the goals have been met;
duty to provide Kaiser Permanente members and physicians with
and facts to allow them to understand the actual
operation of the arbitration system; and
duty to develop a plan for research
and evaluation of the
arbitration system so that the assumptions upon which it is
based may be
judged, reviewed and, if necessary, changed in the future.
* A final
note: many of our recommendations would put Kaiser Permanente,
once again, at the forefront of change in American health
care. We see this as a
positive result, one fully consistent with the history and philosophy
organization. A certain risk is inherent in these recommendations, and
suggest that noticing should be done "until every other health plan has
to do the same
thing." We reject that argument.
Permanente has led in the
field of health care for many years; there is
no reason it should not do the same in the area of arbitration.
Independent Administrator should manage the Kaiser
Permanente Arbitration System 40 and the individual cases within
Foundation Health Plan, Inc. should fund the Independent
of the Independent Administrator should be to
the Kaiser Permanente arbitration process is fair, speedy,
and protects the privacy interests of the parties. These
in the contract with the Independent Administrator and made
all members and employer-purchasers.
Independent Administrator selected should not be a
provider of neutral arbitrators or mediators.
Rationale: The creation of an independent; accountable administrator
for the Kaiser
Permanente arbitration system is the Panel's starting recommendation.
perception of bias created by Kaiser Permanente's
"self-administration"-has been a
primary concern raised by the consumer representatives; members'
legislators and academics who spoke with the Panel as well as by the
Supreme Court in the Engalla
Panel concluded that the present arbitration system is not truly being
managed by anyone and is left, by default, to the control of the
legal and ethical responsibilities are to their respective clients. The
Panel feels that
Kaiser Permanente's arbitration cases must be actively managed by an
individual or organization rather than be left to the "management" of
Independent Administrator should manage the arbitration program and
the individual arbitration cases in a way that will achieve the
program's goals-- to
40The phrase "Kaiser
Permanente Arbitration System" in these recommendations refers
only to cases within California., which was
the geographic scope of the Panel's inquiry.
provide a fair, timely, low cost process that protects the privacy
interests of all
parties. The process must be fair first and foremost to the individual
Permanente member who has a valid claim and a right to adequate
In addition, the system must be fair to physicians and other health
The costs of the system should be sufficiently low as to enable
of income, to effectively assert valid claims and to allow Kaiser
effectively defend claims. These goals serve as the foundation for all
of the Panel's
administration has been to select one,
existing arbitration organization to handle all Kaiser Permanente
cases. The Panel
considered and rejected this option for two reasons. Employment of
from only one organization creates the appearance of a "captive"
provider, who is
beholden to Kaiser Permanente for repeat business and therefore
perceived to favor
Kaiser Permanente. In addition, exclusive use of one arbitration panel
parties the benefit of the widest range of available, talented neutral
Advisory Committee41, comprised of representatives
Permanente should establish a small, on-going,
Permanente Group physicians, Kaiser health care personnel,
of Kaiser Permanente services, an appropriate
organization and the plaintiffs' and defense bar involved in
in the Kaiser Permanente arbitration system. Kaiser
consult with the Advisory Committee prior to the selection of the
Administrator and at other critical points described later
41Our recommendation in this
area benefited greatly from the work of Professor Thomas
B. Metzloff, Duke University School of Law,
Durham, N.C. and attorney Robert A. Stein, of
Washington D.C., who developed the "Model Grievance Procedure for
Planning Councils and
Grantees" under Title I of the Ryan White Care Act. In addition, our
Chair and Reporter had
independent experience with the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Group
for the United States
District Court, Northern District of California.
Rationale: Although the Panel has made a number of recommendations on
improve the Kaiser Permanente arbitration system, there are many
specifics to be
resolved and adjusted based on experience.42 An Advisory
Committee comprised of
knowledgeable representatives of the affected parties will best be able
to work with
Kaiser Permanente and the Independent Administrator to design and
process that meets the program's goals in a way that will work
effectively for all
Panel anticipates that the Advisory Committee would have major input
prior to the selection of the Independent Administrator. However, it
will also play
an important ongoing role, assessing the evaluations of the arbitration
identifying possible areas for improvement.
In order to
the Advisory Committee should be as small
as possible, consistent with the goal of representing each of the
of a Revised Kaiser Permanente Arbitration System
Time frame for
Independent Administrator, after consultation with Kaiser
Permanente and the Advisory Committee, should establish arbitration
which will serve as publicly stated benchmarks for the
Independent Administrator should supervise the progress
of each case and should communicate regularly with the neutral
parties, when appropriate) to assure that each case moves as
as possible. To this end, the Independent Administrator
42For example, the present
$150 administrative fee may need to be adjusted somewhat to
reflect the increased cost of administering
the new system. If adjusted, however, the fee must
remain reasonable, in keeping with the important goal that the
arbitration process not be cost-
prohibitive for members.
43The Panel was concerned to
learn that California's superior courts may not treat
arbitration hearing dates as conflicts for
trial setting purposes. It will be difficult to expedite the
arbitration process unless courts are willing to show flexibility in
scheduling trials when a counsel
all cases should move as swiftly as possible, special
expedited procedures, including for appointing the neutral arbitrator
arbitration hearing dates, should be established for cases in
terminally ill or in other catastrophic circumstances.
Rationale: Throughout its investigation the Panel asked the individuals
it spoke if there was a "gold standard"' or accepted time frame for
processing of medical malpractice cases in arbitration. No one could
Panel with such a benchmark.
A number of
individuals who spoke
with the Panel believed that uniform
arbitration deadlines are not feasible because each case is unique.
Some cases will
require additional time for discovery, to retain and consult with
experts or to wait
for stabilization of medical condition.
Panel concluded that
it would be unreasonable to recommend a
firm deadline for all cases, the Panel believes that only by
benchmarks, similar to the California state court "fast track" targets,
Permanente system goals be achieved. For example, the program could be
to resolve 85% of cases within 18 months of the Demand For Arbitration,
10% within 24 months and the remaining 5% within 36 months. These
are for illustration only; the appropriate targets should be developed
Independent Administrator after consultation with Kaiser Permanente and
Advisory Committee and could be subsequently adjusted, if needed, in
actual experience. The Panel believes that establishing such time
frames will speed
case resolution and reduce the need to micromanage individual cases.
witnesses noted that significant delays occur when arbitration
hearings are recessed and rescheduled, sometimes repeatedly. The Panel
recommends that the Independent Administrator strongly encourage neutral
arbitrators to work with counsel and parties to schedule continuous
has a previously set, conflicting arbitration
Panel urges the California Judicial Council,
as the policymaker for the state courts, to promulgate a rule treating
a conflicting arbitration date
with the same respect as a conflicting trial date.
for Arbitration, and
other pleadings and notices that initiate
arbitration, should be promptly forwarded to the Independent
Panel recognizes that some demands never go beyond the filing stage and
inactive on the arbitration docket for an extended period. The
Administrator should manage these cases so that they can be removed
program at the earliest appropriate time.
and availability of procedures
Independent Administrator should formalize and make
available Kaiser Permanente's new arbitration goals and procedures in
actions, where necessary, to assure all participants are
Rationale: The Panel envisions a system in which the Independent
would publish and disseminate to members, all participating attorneys
interested parties, a clear statement of the goals and rules of the
Establishing a list of qualified arbitrators
a list of qualified arbitrators
Independent Administrator should develop the largest
possible list of qualified neutral arbitrators.
Independent Administrator should solicit applications
from firms and individuals in California who provide neutral arbitration
who are interested in serving in Kaiser Permanente cases.
for applicants should be established by the Independent
after discussions with the Advisory Committee and Kaiser
Independent Administrator should select those applicants
who meet standards of qualification and experience and who demonstrate
implement the program's goals of fairness, timeliness, low
the parties' privacy interests.
Rationale: Making the largest number of qualified neutral arbitrators
hear Kaiser Permanente arbitrations is in the interest of all parties
and is critical to
speeding up the Kaiser Permanente arbitration process. A number of
attorneys believe that Kaiser Permanente will only agree to a small
neutral arbitrators and that the small size of that group is one of the
of arbitration delay. The Independent Administrator should design the
and screening process after consulting with the Advisory Committee and
Permanente. The arbitrators should be selected on the basis of their
ability to meet
the program's stated goals and other specific qualifications the
Administrator may establish in areas such as experience, training and
the Panel lacked the time to determine the ideal qualifications for
neutral arbitrators, it believes that the quality of the neutral
arbitrator is critical to
maintaining the fairness and success of this dispute resolution option.
that there may be disagreement as to how much and what type of
neutral arbitrators need, the Panel urges the Independent Administrator
this issue after consultation with the Advisory Committee and Kaiser
selection of the neutral arbitrator
Kaiser Permanente should be required to send the Demand for
notice of arbitration, to the Independent Administrator
(5) business days of
neutral arbitrator should be selected within thirty (30)
days of the
Administrator's receipt of the arbitration demand.
parties should have a short period within which they may
arbitrator of their choosing.
arbitrator is selected within that period, the Independent
select the neutral arbitrator by providing a list of names
parties and giving them
ten (10) days to strike some number of those
procedure for this
striking process should be established by the
creating lists of potential neutral arbitrators, the
should rotate among the qualified neutral
one-time, delay in appointment of up to ninety (90) days
allowed by the
Independent Administrator upon written request of the
Counsel requesting a
delay should be required to provide a copy of
request to his or her
Independent Administrator should be able to grant
Rationale: Delay in appointment of the neutral arbitrator is a
to delay in the Kaiser Permanente arbitration process, as noted by many
individuals with whom the Panel spoke and the Court in Engalla. A number of
those who spoke with the Panel strongly urged a striking system as
efficient way to select a neutral arbitrator, avoiding the
and inefficient resort to court appointment.
a clear, short time period within which
the parties will be encouraged to agree-on a neutral arbitrator of
their own choosing.
Any neutral arbitrator chosen must agree to abide by the Independent
Administrator's rules and be subject to her or his supervision.
agreement on a neutral arbitrator is reached within that time frame, the
Independent Administrator should provide a list of names from which
would exercise some number of strikes. The specifics of the striking
system - the
number of names on the list, the number of strikes and the timing and
selecting the neutral arbitrator from the remaining names - should be
the Independent Administrator.
the lists, the
Independent Administrator should rotate among the
eligible arbitration organizations and individuals on the screened
example, case I could be sent a list selected from the roster of a
organization; case 2 could be sent a list from a second qualified
case 3 could be sent a list selected from the qualified individual
This rotation would diminish the reliance of any one set of neutral
Kaiser Permanente cases and should decrease the risk and perception of
"repeat player" bias towards Kaiser Permanente by neutral arbitrators.
speedy appointment, the Panel recognizes that delays are
sometimes needed. A number of plaintiffs' counsel informed the Panel
cases come to them just as the statute of limitations is about to run
and that they
need additional time to investigate their cases.
neutral arbitrator should promptly convene an
conference, in person or by phone, to set deadlines for
establish the date of
the arbitration hearing and assist in resolving
that might impede the
progress of the case. The neutral arbitrator
conferences as necessary to assure that the case
The Independent Administrator should
cases and supervise
the neutral arbitrators to assure efficient
Rationale: Arbitration cases need active management in order to move
The neutral arbitrator should serve as the primary arbitration manager
need regular, periodic contact with the attorneys in order to keep the
forward. The Independent Administrator should be responsible for
progress of the case and keeping the neutral arbitrators on track. The
use phone conferences whenever possible in order to save time and
by potential arbitrators
Independent Administrator should maintain a list of all
arbitrators and arbitration organizations and maintain a file
on each. An
arbitrator's file should contain the history of
arbitrator's rulings in
Kaiser arbitrations, written decisions (if any) in
a biography and any
additional information necessary to enable
screen for bias and
possible conflicts of interest.
files should be made available to parties and counsel in
arbitrations. When a list of potential neutral
is sent to parties
and counsel, a summary of the file information on
should be included in that mailing.
Rationale: A major criticism of the Kaiser Permanente arbitration
system has been
that Kaiser Permanente, as the repeat party, has greater knowledge of
performance of potential neutral arbitrators. Although it appears that
medical malpractice plaintiffs' counsel have substantial access to
to their own experience and professional networks, less experienced
unrepresented parties are at a disadvantage. This set of
designed to rectify this imbalance in access to important information.
Independent Administrator should maintain a file on each qualified
neutral arbitrator containing the information that would be of interest
to a party or
counsel seeking to select a neutral arbitrator for a case. Counsel and
parties in a
pending Kaiser Permanente arbitration must have timely access to this
The mechanics of distributing or otherwise making this information
be determined by the Independent Administrator in consultation with the
Committee and Kaiser Permanente.
recommends that a
neutral arbitrator's past rulings and written
decisions in Kaiser Permanente arbitrations be included in his or her
Panel's recommendation regarding creation of written decisions is set
Until a substantial number of decisions are created under this new
should make its best efforts to extract relevant information about
cases over the last
three years from its records and make that information available for
inclusion in the
Independent Administrator's files. This task may be difficult because
collection of data does not exist at this time, to the Panel's
knowledge. The Panel
does not intend that the implementation process be slowed by the task
this information but urges Kaiser Permanente to work actively and in
good faith to
create this record as soon as possible.
arbitrators should be required to issue brief written
in Kaiser Permanente arbitrations and the Independent
should include the name of the prevailing
amount and other
relevant terms of the award, if any; and reasons
Independent Administrator should maintain a complete
set of the
decisions in Kaiser Permanente arbitration cases. In
copy of a neutral
arbitrator's decision should be kept in that
documents should be made available, as described
parties and counsel in
pending Kaiser Permanente arbitrations.
purpose of the requirement of brief written decisions is to better
inform the parties of the reasons for the arbitrator's ruling and to
enhance the quality
of information available to counsel and parties who are selecting
for pending cases. The decisions should be brief in order to keep down
fees and reduce the delay involved in writing detailed decisions.
developing principles to govern the Independent
neutral arbitrators who will serve in Kaiser
Permanente and the Advisory Committee should
substantial care to ensure
the privacy of members, physicians and Kaiser
Prior to making past
awards and written decisions available, as
Independent Administrator should remove the names
and Kaiser Permanente personnel, as well as
the name and
location of the
Rationale: A major benefit of arbitration is the privacy it provides to
members and Kaiser Permanente personnel. The goal of providing
more information on past cases to counsel and parties selecting
pending cases could undermine the goal of maintaining party privacy.
the Panel recommends that any information that could be used to
individual party be removed from documents placed in the Independent
Administrator's files for review.
of settlement opportunities
25) The Independent Administrator
should ensure that the neutral
schedules, but does
not attend, an early meeting between the parties
through direct negotiations or with the assistance
of a mediator.
26) Within twelve (12) months of
this report, Kaiser Permanente
consult with the
Independent Administrator and the Advisory
implementation of a mediation program.
The present Kaiser Permanente arbitration system provides no formal
opportunities for settlement discussions. Sometimes the adversary
arbitration makes early initiation of settlement talks difficult. For
individual counsel are sometimes reluctant to raise the issue of
settlement for fear of
appearing weak to their client or their opponent. In addition, some
counsel believe that Kaiser Permanente is sometimes reluctant to have
settlement discussions. The Panel does not know if this criticism is
believes that increasing opportunities for settlement talks will
benefit all parties.
These recommendations give the Independent Administrator the
encouraging both direct and mediated settlement discussions early in
Panel also believes that a voluntary, mediation program, would enhance
and complement the available grievance and arbitration options, perhaps
earlier resolution in some cases and avoiding the necessity of the
Presentations made to the Panel described how mediation can enable the
be more directly involved in resolving their dispute and, in some
cases, can result in
creative, tailored solutions that meet the needs of the parties better
than an arbitrated
solution. The Panel acknowledges that mediation will not be appropriate
use of the sole arbitrator
27) If the member requests a
single, neutral arbitrator, Kaiser
should consent and pay
the full fee of the neutral arbitrator. If
Permanente insists upon a
tripartite panel in these circumstances, it
for all fees of the
neutral arbitrator as well as its own party
Rationale: The major costs of the Kaiser
arbitration system are the fees
of the arbitrators, substantial costs which do not exist in court
most medical malpractice cases have been heard by a panel of three: two
arbitrators (one selected by each side) and a "neutral" arbitrator,
usually selected by
the party arbitrators, sometimes in consultation with their clients.
When there is
a three-person panel under the present system, each side pays
the full cost of its party arbitrator and half of the cost of the
neutral arbitrator. The
Panel learned that the cost of medical malpractice party arbitrators
attorneys) may run from $0 (when plaintiffs' attorneys serve as party
arbitrators as a
courtesy to colleagues) to $150 per hour for Kaiser arbitrators and
$200 to $350 per
hour for some plaintiffs' arbitrators. Neutral arbitrators may run as
high as $400 per
hour or more,
Panel has serious concerns about whether the value added by the two
party arbitrators justifies the significant expense. With the exception
the individuals who spoke with the Panel generally viewed the
three-person panel as
an anachronism and felt that a sole arbitrator was sufficient in the
vast majority of
cases. The purpose of this recommendation is to create incentives for
the use of
sole arbitrators and significantly reduce the cost of arbitration
process. Cases with
sole arbitrators will also avoid the delay of obtaining and scheduling
participants in the arbitration process.
28) The Independent Administrator
should, report annually to
Permanente and the Advisory Committee. The report should discuss
taken to achieve the
program's goals and whether those goals are
The annual report
shall be made available to the Advisory
and, upon request, to
Kaiser Permanente members,
the general public.
29) No less than every five
years, an independent audit of the
be undertaken. This audit shall also be
available to the Advisory Committee and, upon request, to Kaiser
employer/purchasers and the general public.
Kaiser Permanente should conduct on-going, internal research
to assess the
which the arbitration system is meeting its stated goals.
Rationale: A major criticism of the Kaiser
arbitration program and a
major challenge to our Panel has been the lack of complete and reliable
with which to assess the program's operations and results. These
would improve data collection, monitoring and reporting, enable the
Administrator to improve the system and assure Kaiser Permanente, its
employer/purchasers and the public that the program's goals of
low cost and privacy are being met.
evaluation and public
dissemination of this information are critical
to the development of public confidence in a private, mandated
of the Pre-arbitration System
31) Kaiser Permanente should
establish and fund a formal
program45 to assist members in the
complaint and grievance
32) The Kaiser Permanente dispute
resolution system should be
across all facilities in
California and should be communicated more
directly, in writing,
to its members.
Rationale: In spite
of excellent presentations by Kaiser Permanente personnel, the
Panel found the pre-arbitration grievance and complaint system
to understand and can only assume that many Kaiser members have the same
reaction. Kaiser Permanente should institute an ombudsperson program to
members in solving their problems and navigating the large, complex
45The Panel studied with
great interest the paper of Peter V. Lee, J.D. and Carol Scott
J.D., Managed Care Ombudsman Programs:
New Approaches to Assist Consumers and
Health Care System,
Center for Health Care Rights, Los Angeles, California,
Permanente organization. The ombudsperson could also be of invaluable
to unrepresented parties, who are the most vulnerable potential
participants in the
With regard to
this proposal, the
Panel notes that Kaiser Permanente has
recently joined with the American Association of Retired Persons,
Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound and HIP Health Insurance Plans
proposing Consumer Protection Standards in managed care.46 This agreement
includes the provision of an ombudsperson for assistance in a variety
including complaints, grievances and appeals.
The Panel did
not have sufficient
time to decide whether to recommend a role
for the ombudsperson in the arbitration process. The Panel is very
the near impossibility of unrepresented parties adequately presenting
case and believe that there may be a constructive role for the
ombudsperson to play
in assisting these vulnerable parties prior to and perhaps in
Not Involving Medical Malpractice
33) Kaiser Permanente should
consult with the Advisory
and the Independent Administrator to determine whether different
procedures are needed
for benefits and coverage cases and other
Rationale: According to the information provided by Kaiser,
approximately 90% of
all Kaiser Permanente arbitrations are medical malpractice cases, and
recommendations have been developed in that context. However, the Panel
that there maybe a need for different standards or procedures in other
cases, particularly benefits and coverage cases in which obtaining a
may have special urgency. The Panel recommends that Kaiser Permanente
and reach some determination on this issue with the Advisory Committee
Internal News", Public Affairs and Communications Department (1997)
Program Offices (1997).
F. Speed of
34) The Advisory Committee should
be appointed no later than
35) The Independent Administrator
should be selected no later
36) Kaiser Permanente should
develop and publish an
schedule for these recommendations as rapidly as possible.
Rationale: Kaiser Permanente should move as
possible to establish its
Advisory Committee and hire its Independent Administrator. While the
appreciates that this timetable is ambitious, the Panel feels it is
necessary in order to
restore confidence in its arbitration process.
Hon. Eugene F. Lynch (ret.)
Sandra R. Hernāndez, M.D.
Phillip L. lsenberg, Esq.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to providing its members with medical
care of the highest quality.
In that context, it is essential that differences of opinion regarding
care or service be resolved
in a sensitive and humane manner. To help resolve questions about the
effectiveness of binding arbitration as it is now employed in Kaiser
Permanente, we are seeking suggestions for improvements in the process
from a blue ribbon panel of outside experts.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. ("Health
is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation and a federally
qualified health maintenance organization. It arranges for the
provision of medical services to its members through a contract with
Medical Group, Inc., a California professional corporation, in Northern
California and the
Southern California Permanente Medical Group, a professional
partnership, in Southern
California. Hospital services are provided to members through contracts
Foundation Hospitals, a California nonprofit public benefit
corporation. The entities,
together "Kaiser Permanente," have used binding neutral arbitration for
more than 25
years to resolve disputes with Health Plan members.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to the use of binding neutral
arbitration because it provides
a system of dispute resolution which can be less expensive and more
efficient than traditional courtroom litigation. Equally as
significant, the process is less adversarial, and consequently
more appropriate for the resolution of disputes with persons who will
continue in most cases
to be Health Plan members.
A copy of a white paper on the Health Plan arbitration process is
attached as Exhibit 1.
A copy of the Health Plan Service Agreement, Section 8 of which is the
arbitration provision, is attached as Exhibit 2.
The Health Plan arbitration process was
criticized by the Supreme Court of the State of California in the
recent case of Engalla
v. The Permanente Medical Group. Inc. A copy of that
decision is attached as Exhibit 3.
In light of the criticism which has been
the arbitration process, Dr. David Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer of
the Health Plan, has directed that a blue ribbon panel be formed
to evaluate the arbitration process and to recommend improvements to
that process. In
accordance with that directive, all Kaiser Permanente personnel have
been instructed to
cooperate with the work of the panel. The Panel will have access to all
documents related to the arbitration process except those which are
legally privileged. Any other confidential
documents and information provided to the Panel will remain
To suggest improvements to the process by
Permanente arbitrates cases of
alleged medical malpractice with its members in order to provide an
arbitration system that
is sensitive to the members and fair to all parties involved. The panel
will provide its recommendations to Dr. Lawrence no later than November
Considered but Not Adopted by the Panel
A. "Loser pays"
considered whether to
recommend a "loser pays" rule, in
which the losing party in an arbitration would pay the winning party's
Panel considered two versions of such a rule: one that would award only
that would be granted to the winning party by a court and one that
would award all
costs of the winning party, including attorneys' fees and all
arbitrators' fees. The
possible benefits of a "loser pays" system are two-fold. By increasing
the cost of
losing, such a system may discourage the filing of frivolous or weak
addition, the winning party is fully compensated, obtaining
reimbursement for its
attorneys fees and arbitrator costs. The Panel ultimately rejected both
this option, unanimously, out of concern that such any such rule could
inhibit members' willingness to pursue arbitration, even in legitimate
cases, for fear
of incurring substantial debt if they should lose. The Panel was also
when Kaiser Permanente prevailed, it would be in the difficult position
collection efforts against individual members with whom it hopes to
have a positive,
B. Variant of California Code of Civil
Procedure Section 998
Panel also considered recommending
that Kaiser Permanente's arbitration program include a rule patterned
Code of Civil Procedure Section 998, which provides that a party who
written settlement offer and fails to achieve a better result at trial
will pay certain
costs incurred by the offering party. This option failed to receive
support because of concerns that it, too, could discourage members from
legitimate claims and, as with "loser pays", would make Kaiser
creditor of its members in some cases.
C. Specific qualifications for neutral
Panel was unanimous in its belief in the need for qualified neutral
arbitrators. It discussed but did not reach a conclusion on
what those specific
qualifications should be. Possibilities discussed include an ability to
complex medical information. Whether necessary experience should
work as an advocate, judge or arbitrator in medical malpractice cases
broadly, in tort cases was also considered. In a desire to avoid
the Panel leaves resolution of this question to the Independent
consultation with the Advisory Committee and Kaiser Permanente.
D. Pilot program comparing arbitration cases with
Panel discussed the idea that a well managed, accountable,
arbitration system could be a superior option to the civil court system
with legitimate claims. Kaiser is often maligned for mandating
arbitration, yet the
Panel considered whether it was possible and perhaps even likely that
given an option at the time a malpractice action was commenced, might
arbitration if it were perceived as fair, independent, speedy, less
In order to
arbitration would be selected voluntarily by
members, the Panel considered recommending a pilot program, perhaps in
region or hospital system, in which members for a limited period of
choose arbitration or the traditional court process for their disputes.
pilot would allow assessment of member satisfaction, costs, time frames
outcomes under the two systems. The malpractice environment is quite
today than it was when the arbitration system was established, due to
court "fast track" legislation. A well-designed pilot program could
reveal a great
deal about the merits of medical malpractice arbitration in the current
Date: December 17, 1997
From: Pauline Fox
Post-November 1994 Process Changes
Pursuant to your request, this memorandum will summarize some of the
changes made to the
processes used by this department since I joined Kaiser as Chief
Counsel of Medical-Legal
(Northern California) in November 1994. Relevant changes include:
(1) Developed specific processes for managing cases in which the
claimant is terminal;
(2) Developed and implementing a process pursuant to which indigent or
low income claimants
could obtain relief from the payment
of some arbitration costs;
(3) Developed documentation to obtain written consent by all parties to
defer appointment of
arbitrators while, at the same time,
ensuring that discovery can continue;
(4) Developed guidelines regarding continuances of arbitration hearings;
(5) Supported legislation to improve the disposition time of
arbitration hearings, reduce the cost
of arbitration cases, and provide
legislative avenues for indigent claimants to prosecute
(6) Consulted with representatives of the plaintiffs' bar to discuss
potential improvements to the
arbitration process, e.g., fax service
of demands for arbitration, compilation of a list of neutral
arbitrators generally acceptable to
both sides. Began work designed to determine the efficacy
of the latter idea;
(7) Investigated the utility of retaining the services of a third party
ADR administrator to
expedite the appointment of
arbitrators preserving the open panel approach; and
(8) Moved to get arbitrators appointed in all cases.
Ribbon Advisory Panel on Kaiser Permanente Arbitration
c/o Hon. Eugene F. Lynch (ret)
P.O. Box 1341
Ross, California 94957
January 5 1998
David M. Lawrence, M.D.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals
One Kaiser Plaza- 27th Floor
Oakland, California, 94612
Dear Dr. Lawrence:
We submit for
this report on the Kaiser Permanente
system of arbitration. It was an honor to be asked to study your
the time frame given us was short, we hope that our comments and
recommendations are helpful to you.
recommendations are primarily
aimed at helping the members of Kaiser
Permanente deal with their health plan. At the same time we believe
and justice must be extended equally to the physicians and staff of
Permanente. We have come to believe that the interests of the Kaiser
arbitration system transcend the .individual cases in arbitration.
seek changes in the system itself, not just the avoidance of old errors
in new cases.
Kaiser Permanente and its members and physicians are in a relationship
of trust and
mutual obligation. We believe our recommendations reinforce that mutual
are unanimously in support of the specific recommendations in this
report. Frankly, we were surprised and pleased to discover that we
agreed on all
Permanente is a non-profit health plan interested in
providing quality health care at an affordable price. In a competitive
market the need to control costs and simultaneously guarantee the
quality of medical
care are vital goals of the system. Within this context lies the
arbitration system developed by Kaiser Permanente.
already taken steps to improve its arbitration system.
We have attached a memorandum provided to us outlining these changes.
goes substantially beyond these preliminary steps, but moves in the
broad - some would say they are
fundamental changes in the system - we have suggested a very short
period of time
for implementation of the most significant changes. We know this will
difficulty for Kaiser Permanente. However, the controversy over
be resolved rapidly.
Finally, as we
this report we were conscious that several of
us have some involvement with Kaiser Permanente or with parties
interested in the results of our deliberations. In the interest of
candor we wish to
note that Eugene Lynch handles mediation and arbitration with
Phil lsenberg has been a plan member of Kaiser Permanente his entire
adult life and
Stephanie Smith, our Reporter, has a brother-in-law who is a physician
Permanente Medical Group and a sister-in-law who is a Kaiser nurse.
We believe our
recommendations stand on their own merit.
Hon. Eugene F. Lynch (ret.)
Sandra R. Hernāndez. M.D.
Phillip L. Isenberg, Esq.
Who Presented Information to the Panel or Had Discussions with a
Panel Member or the Reporter
& Carlson - Oakland, CA
Warren Barns, Esq.
Counsel, California Department of Corporations
Ms. S. Kimberly Belshe
California Department of Health Services - Sacramento, CA
Robert A. Berenson.M.D.
IMPACS: Improving Malpractice Prevention and Compensations
Systems and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Georgetown
University - Washington, D.C.
Robert Bockelman, Esq.
of Robert Bockelman - San Francisco, CA
James Bostwick, Esq.
& Associates - San Francisco, CA
Thomas Brandi, Esq.
of Thomas Brandi - San Francisco, CA
James Brosnahan, Esq.
& Foerster - San Francisco, CA
Ms. Donne Brownsey
Solutions - Sacramento, CA
Clients include the California Dispute Resolution Council
Senator John Burton
State Senate - Sacramento, CA
Ms. Beth Capell
& Associates - Sacramento, CA
Clients include Health Access California, the California Physicians
and the Service Employees International Union.
Hon. Winslow Christian (ret.)
- San Francisco, CA
Richard Conti, Esq.
Candland & Conti - Danville, CA
Richard Dodge, Esq.
Houston, Dodge & McClure - Walnut Creek, CA
Mr. Emery B. (Soap) Dowell
California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board
Assemblywoman Martha Escutia
California State Assembly; Sacramento, CA
Jeanne Finberg, Esq.
Attorney & Policy Analyst, Consumers Union - San Francisco, CA
Prof. Jay Folberg
University of San Francisco School of Law - San Francisco, CA
Pauline Fox, Esq.
President & Assistant General Counsel
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals
Kenneth D. Gack, Esq.
JAMS/Endispute - Santa Rosa, CA
Mr. David Glass
Market Analysis & Planning
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. - Oakland CA
Mr. Jim Gomes
Executive Officer - California Public Employees Retirement System
(CalPERS) - Sacramento, CA
Mr. G.G. Hagen
Commissioner, California Department of Corporations
Dr. Deborah R. Hensler
RAND Institute for Civil Justice - Santa Monica, CA
LeRoy Hersh, Esq.
& Hersh - San Francisco, CA
Nancy Hersh, Esq.
& Hersh - San Francisco, CA
John E. Hill, Esq.
of John E. Hill - San Francisco, CA
Mr. Ron Joseph
Director, Medical Board of California - Sacramento, CA
Ronald Kaldor, Esq.
at Law - Sacramento, CA
Daniel Kelly, Esq.
Melodia, Kelly & Echeverria - San Francisco, CA
Michael Kelly, Esq.
Melodia, Kelly & Echeverria - San Francisco, CA
A. Peter Kezirian, Esq.
Counsel, California Department of Corporations - Sacramento, CA
Ms. Leslie King
Manager, Member Services
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. - Oakland CA
Ms. Lisa Kolton
Services Leader, California Division
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. - Oakland, CA
Carol A. Lee, Esq.
Director- Division of Government Relations
California Medical Association - Sacramento, CA
Peter V, Lee,
Director, HMO Consumer Protection Project, Center for Health Care Rights
Los Angeles, CA
Mr. David Link
to Assemblywoman Liz Figueroa - Chairwoman, Insurance
Committee, California State Assembly - Sacramento, CA
Melissa A. Lippi, Esq.
Arbitration Attorney, JAMS/Endispute - San Francisco, CA
Ralph Lombardi, Esq.
Cook, Loper, Engel & Bergez - Oakland, CA
Phil Madvig, M.D.
Medical Director, The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.
Prof. Paul Marcus
Dean, College of William and Mary - Marshall-Wythe School of Law
Prof. Carrie Menkel-Meadow
Law School and Georgetown Law Center
Los Angeles, CA and Washington, D.C.
Bruce Merl, M.D.
Director of Medical/Legal, The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.
Mr. Steve Mermis
Vice President, Cooperative of American Physicians / Mutual
Protection Trust - Los Angeles, CA
Prof. Thomas B. Metzloff
University School of Law - Durham, NC
Trischa J. O'Hanlon, Esq.
Counsel, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
Assemblywoman Deborah V. Ortiz, California State Assembly
Gordon T. Ownby, Esq.
Counsel, Cooperative of American Physicians / Mutual Protection
Trust - Los Angeles, CA
Mary Parks, Esq.
Department / Professional Liability
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
Ms. Pat Powers
Pacific Business Group on Health - San Francisco, CA
David Rand, Esq.
Offices of David Rand - San Francisco; CA
Kennedy Richardson, Esq.
Inn - Oakland, CA
Ms. Elizabeth Rolph
Institute for Civil Justice - Santa Monica, CA
Laura Rosenthal, Esq.
Staff Counsel, Legal Office. CalPERS - Sacramento CA
Ms. Debbie Ross
to Assemblymember Martin Gallegos, Chair- Health Committee
California State Assembly - Sacramento, CA
Mr. Sal Rosselli
Health Care Workers Local 250, SEIU - Oakland, CA
Al Hernandez Santana, Esq.
Judiciary Committee - California State Assembly
Norman Saucedo, Esq.
& Corsiglia - San Jose, CA
Michael Shapiro, Esq.
Director - Committee on Insurance- (Senator Herschel Rosenthal,
Chairman) - California State Senate - Sacramento, CA
Dennis Sharp, Esq.
President, California Dispute Resolution Council - San Diego, CA
Richard Simons, Esq.
Jaspovice & Simons
President, Consumer Attorneys of California
Ms. Sara Singer
Health Care Management - Stanford Business School
Mr. Lawrence Sirowy
Assessment (Market Services- Kaiser Foundation Health
Plan, Inc.) - Oakland, CA
Myra C. Snyder, R.N Ed. D.
and C.E.O., California Association of Health Plans
Ms. Margaret T. Stanley
Executive Officer, Health Benefit Services, CalPERS
Robert E. Stein, Esq.
Offices of Robert E. Stein - Washington, D.C.
Mr. Fred Steinmetz
Chief, Health Plan Administration Division, CalPERS
Joe P. Tupin, M.D.
University of California, Davis Medical Center
Steven P. Van Liere, Esq.
Vice President - American Arbitration Association
San Francisco, CA
Ellen J. Waxman, Esq.
Coordinator, Stanford University - Stanford, CA
Arne Werchick, Esq.
& Werchick - Sausalito, CA
David Werdegar, M.D.
Office of State-wide Health Planning & Development
Hon. Rebecca Westerfield (ret.)
- San Francisco, CA
R. Parker White, Esq.
& White - Sacramento. CA
Mary E. Wiss, Esq.
Offices of Mary E. Wiss
President, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
San Francisco, CA
Consuelo A. Zermeņo, Esq.
Consultant, Office of
Assemblymember Deborah V. Ortiz
In addition. Panel members interviewed other individuals on a requested
Disclosures and Biographical Information about
In connection with this report, the members of the Panel and the
Reporter wish to
make the following disclosures. Judge Eugene Lynch is a private
arbitrator who works through JAMS/Endispute, a private dispute
provider. Phil lsenberg is a lifelong Kaiser member. Stephanie Smith
has a brother-
in-law who is a physician with The Permanente Medical Group and a
who is a Kaiser nurse. All of the panelists and the reporter were paid
for their time
by the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
F. Lynch (ret.)
(Chair)- Judge Lynch is a private mediator and
arbitrator, recently retired from fifteen years of service as a judge
of the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California. He served as
judge on the
Municipal and Superior Courts of San Francisco from 1971 to 1982. For
(13) years prior to becoming a judge, he was a San Francisco trial
practice included jury trials of medical malpractice cases. He has
numerous books and articles on negotiation and settlement and serves on
Advisors Committee for the Restatement of Law, Third for Torts. Judge
lectured and taught for numerous organizations including California
Education of the Bar, The Rutter Group, University of
of the Law and the Practicing Law Institute. He is a graduate of Santa
University and University of California-Hastings College of the Law.
Hernāndez, M.D.- Dr. Hernāndez is
Chief Executive Officer and
Director of The San Francisco Foundation and the former Director of the
Department of Public Health for the City and County of San Francisco.
She is an
Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California, San
Francisco, School of
Medicine. Dr. Hernandez is a member of the President's
Commission on Consumer
Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry and serves as Chair
of the Board
of the San Francisco Health Authority (a non-profit HMO). She was
by Modem Healthcare
Magazine as one of ten "Healthcare Leaders for the Next
Century: 1997 Up and Comers." Dr. Hernandez is a graduate of Yale
the Tufts University School of Medicine. She also attended the John F.
School of Government Local and State Executive Program under a W.K.
Mr. Isenberg is the former Mayor of Sacramento and
was a member of the Califorma State Assembly for fourteen (14) years,
Assembly Judiciary Committee for seven (7) years. He was the author of
to regulate the conversion of nonprofit health care facilities to
and a significant participant in the fight over the conversion of Blue
California into a profit-making health plan. Isenberg also chaired
committees allocating more than two billion dollars worth of cigarette
resulting from the passage of Proposition 99. During his legislative
authored legislation in the areas of state and local financing, local
organization and financing, arbitration and dispute resolution, and
environmental matters, Isenberg was a member of the Califorma
Pension Commission (1995-1996) and the University of Califorma
Graduate Medical Education (1966.) He is associated with the Sacramento
of Hyde, Miller, Owen and Trost but continues to lecture on health care
the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, U.S. Public Health
the National Conference of State Legislatures (Forum for State Health
Leadership.) In addition, he lectures at the Graduate School of Public
University of California Berkeley, and in the Government Department and
School of Public Policy, Administration and International Affairs at
University, Sacramento (CSUS). Mr. Isenberg is a graduate of the CSUS
Boalt Hall School of Law.
for the Panel:
Ms. Smith teaches at Stanford Law School and Hastings
College of the Law and is a dispute resolution consultant, trainer and
based in Oakland, California. She has served on the faculty of ADR
sponsored by numerous organizations, including the U.S. Department of
American Bar Association, Harvard Law School and the Center for Public
Resources. She has also conducted trainings in Jordan, India and Canada
worked with Palestinian judges and lawyers from Gaza and the West Bank.
1991 through 1996 she served as Director of ADR Programs for the U.S.
Court for the Northern District of California, in charge of the court's
mediation and early neutral evaluation programs. Prior to joining the
Smith was a partner at the San Francisco law firm of Jackson, Tufts,
Black. She is the former chair of the ADR Cominittee of the Individual
Responsibilities Section of the ABA. She is a graduate of
Wellesley College and
Harvard Law School.
TO KAISER PERMANENTE ARBITRATION SECTION