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    Posted March 13, 2010 by
    HMOHARDBALL
    Location
    Encinitas, California
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Passions over health care reform

    More from HMOHARDBALL

    Government Funds 21st Century "Tuskegee Experiment"

     

    Note: On 10/3/2010 a new section was added at the end of the original article.

          

      100,000 KIDNEY FAILURE PATIENTS ARE HMO LAB RATS
                              GOVERNMENT FUNDS 21ST CENTURY

                                           “TUSKEGEE EXPERIMENT”

     

    INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION by Robert and Jacquelyn Finney. Dr. Finney was Hewlett-Packard’s corporate manager for Health Care Cost Containment. Jacquelyn Finney was a federal Medicare fraud investigator. Dr. Finney is the author of  HOW TO PLAY HMO HARDBALL: The Patient’s Self-Protection Manual.


              For decades, Kaiser Permanente doctors have conducted a medical “experiment” on unwitting patients to determine the cost and progression of kidney failure and its complications, when diagnosis and treatment are intentionally withheld. The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have been funding and protecting Kaiser’s 21st century Tuskegee Experiment.


              Why would the government pay Kaiser Permanente one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) from the taxpayer-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs to deliberately withhold diagnosis and treatment from 100,000 kidney failure patients?


                                         FOLLOW THE MONEY

     

              The Kaiser kidney failure experiment is rooted in the HMO’s experience with the Medicare Capitation Demonstration Project, in the early 1990s. Although kidney failure patients represented less than 1% of the Medicare population, their care accounted for more than 6% of Medicare costs.


              “Progressively shifting costs to the private sector has long been a Medicare strategy… ” Source: “Optimal Renal Care,” The Permanente Journal, Summer, 1999, Vol. 3 No .2.


              Dr. Finney is a kidney failure patient, who had been one of the HMO’s experimental lab rats, since the early 1990s. His kidney failure diagnosis was not disclosed. His kidney failure was not treated. Kaiser made a financial killing by billing Medicare for treatment that was never provided to him. Medicare paid Kaiser only 95% of the average annual cost for treating a kidney failure patient. Kaiser was therefore "at risk" for keeping the cost of care below that average, or the HMO would lose money.


              Dr. and Mrs. Finney discovered Kaiser’s experiment by systematically questioning his doctor, who admitted that he was one of “thousands” of patients that the HMO intentionally does not diagnose and treat to save money. This doctor was unapologetic that Kaiser would have to “spend a lot of money to do it right.”


              The Finneys filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. Neither Kaiser nor the government disputed or denied that at least 100,000 Kaiser kidney failure patients were deliberately not diagnosed and treated, while the HMO was able to research treatment costs.


    DOJ attorneys closed their complaint, concluding that taxpayers’ one billion dollar ($1,000,000,000) funding of Kaiser’s experiment was money well spent, because “[the kidney failure patients] received care in accordance with the medical standards.” Source: Statement of Andrea Larry, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, April, 2009.


    KAISER’S 21st CENTURY TUSKEGEE EXPERIMENT


              Both the Tuskegee and Kaiser Experiments executed trusting patients in cold blood by sending them deceptive letters. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment


    The Tuskegee Experiment


              Doctors conducting the Tuskegee Experiment gained the "consent" of poor, African American men for spinal taps (to look for signs of syphilis) by depicting the diagnostic test as a "special free treatment."


              To ensure that the men would show up for the possibly dangerous, painful, diagnostic and non-therapeutic spinal tap, the doctors sent the 400 patients a deceptive letter titled, "Last Chance for Special Free Treatment"


    “REMEMBER THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE FOR SPECIAL
    FREE TREATMENT. BE SURE TO MEET THE NURSE.”


    To read the Tuskegee letter, go to www.hmohardball.com   Then click on Read Independent Investigation and scroll down to the Tuskegee letter link


    One warped Tuskegee doctor congratulated another for his "flair for framing letters to Negroes."


    Investigating Kaiser’s Experiment at the Lab-Interviews with Kaiser Employees


              Doctors conducting Kaiser’s experiment gained the “consent” of kidney failure patients by sending them deceptive letters in both English and Spanish, to check their “cholesterol.”


              On April 23, 2009, Kaiser sent a form letter to Dr. Finney, both in English and in Spanish, instructing him to report to the lab to check his “cholesterol” and other labs. In fact, the letters instructed the lab to perform a test to measure kidney failure, not cholesterol. See Source directly below,

     

    Source: Kaiser’s instructions to the lab checked only one test (microalbumin–random), which is a urine test that only detects kidney failure. The instructions did not check “lipid profile,” which is a blood test that only detects cholesterol. A microalbumin urine test is done to check for protein (albumin) in the urine. Early detection and treatment preserve kidney function.


    The letters stated:


    Your doctor and healthcare team would like you to come in for some lab work that you're due for! Checking your cholesterol and other labs is an important part of how we care for the whole you.”


              To read  the Kaiser Permanente Lab Letter in English go to www.hmohardball.com. Both the English and Spanish letters are images/links directly next to the picture of  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on the home page


    “A su Doctor y su equipo profesional de salud les gustaria que venga para hacerle una Prueba de Laboratorio que ya ha vencido. Analizando su colesterol y haciendole otros examenes de laboratorio es una parte importante del tipo de atencion que le brindamos para ayudarle a mantenerse saludable.”


              To read the Kaiser Permanente Lab Letter in Spanish go to
    www.hmohardball.com.  Both the Spanish and English letters are images/ links directly next to the picture of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on the home page.

     

    NOTE: “Latinos are the largest ethnic group in Kaiser Permanente’s membership. Kaiser Permanente’s Latino members comprise 15.2% of membership, which is more than 1 million members Program-wide.”Hispanic PR Wire, 9-8-05. African Americans comprise nearly 12 percent of Kaiser Permanente’s membership. U.S. Fed News Service, 1-20-2007.


              It was obvious to Dr. Finney, Hewlett Packard’s former Manager of Corporate Health Care Cost Containment, that Kaiser’s letter was a fraud designed to collect medical information for its undisclosed kidney failure research experiment.


    • The letter instructed the lab to perform only a urine test to measure kidney failure, not to perform a blood test to measure cholesterol.


    • The letter was electronically signed by his former primary care physician, who had not treated Dr. Finney for the prior five years.


    • Both the English and Spanish versions of the letter were specifically addressed to Dr. Finney, whose physicians know that he is not Latino and does not read or speak Spanish.


    • The intake clerk attempted to hand a urine specimen container to Dr. Finney, stating that his primary care physician had ordered it.


    • Dr. Finney refused to comply, stating that this test had not been ordered by his doctor and that the sample was being obtained under false pretenses. The clerk did not dispute him.


    • Mrs. Finney, a Spanish-speaking former Medicare fraud investigator, questioned a lab technician about the test. He confirmed that numerous patients receive these letters to report to the lab.


    • The tech admitted that this test is not ordered by the patients’ doctors, but by a Kaiser entity unknown to him.

     

    • The tech stated that order for these tests expires after 30 days. However, when the order expires after 30 days, the lab must obtain reauthorization of the test by the patients’ primary attending doctors, who are angry that they must “reauthorize” tests that they had never authorized in the first place.


              Kaiser’s scheme is in fact an integrated illegal enterprise to test kidney failure patients without disclosing the purpose of the test, without providing diagnosis and treatment and without disclosing that minor deviations from the range mean major failure in kidney function.

    Source:

    [Even] a slightly elevated serum creatinine level can indicate presence of clinically significant kidney disease.” What To Do for the Patient with Minimally Elevated Creatinine Level?, Permanente Journal, Winter, 2004

     

              Kaiser’s own studies admit that at least 100,000 patients have been studied to calculate the cost of providing their medical care without disclosing their diagnosis and providing treatment.

    Source:

    Kaiser’s own studies document that at least 100,000 kidney failure patients have not been diagnosed and treated.


    “Implementing KDOQI CKD Definition and Staging Guidelines in Southern California Kaiser Permanente, “American Journal of Kidney Diseases, March, 2009.


    “Low Documentation of Chronic Kidney Disease Among High-risk Patients in a Managed Care Population: a Retrospective Cohort Study,” BMC Nephrology, 2009.


    “Predicting Costs Of Care In Chronic Kidney Disease: The Role Of Comorbid Conditions,”  The Internet Journal of Nephrology 2007: Volume 4 Number

    _________________

     

    Investigating Kaiser’s Experiment- Personal Interviews with Kaiser Patients


              Dr. and Mrs. Finney’s personal interviews with other Kaiser patients and their relatives confirm that numerous patients and their relatives have been tested for kidney failure for many years without their knowledge and informed consent.


              Many of these patients suffered from kidney failure, but had never been diagnosed and treated by their doctors.


              Not one of these patients had ever had a discussion with their primary care doctors about prevention and early detection of kidney failure or knew that their doctors had ordered lab tests to detect kidney failure for many years.


              Their interviews focused on Kaiser’s African-American, Latino, and Asian patients, whose risk of kidney failure is much greater than Caucasians’ and who are at high risk of disparate treatment and racial health care inequality.


    • A Latino patient’s lab records showed that he suffers from stage 2 kidney failure, but his doctor has never disclosed his diagnosis and treated him.


    • An African-American patient stated that, based on these interviews, she made an appointment with her Kaiser primary care physician specifically to discuss kidney failure testing. Her physician stated that she had been tested for many years and was “fine.” The physician wanted to know how this patient had learned of Kaiser’s kidney testing practice, but did not discuss her actual test results, diagnosis, and risk of disease and prevention.


    • An African-American patient stated that her sister, a Kaiser patient had gone to the emergency department and was placed on dialysis for kidney failure. She had a leg amputated. She could not withstand the horror of dialysis, refused further treatment, and died.


    • An Asian patient stated that he was first diagnosed with kidney failure in the emergency room, was put on dialysis, and is enduring unspeakable agony waiting for a kidney transplant.


              In a subsequent interview with one of these patients, she thanked Dr. and Mrs. Finney for alerting her to Kaiser’s Experiment. She had her husband and children tested for kidney failure, adding that:


    “I’m glad you made me do it.

    I don’t trust my Kaiser doctorto tell me the truth.”


    PRESIDENT OBAMA OWES AN APOLOGY TO THE KAISER PATIENTS


    One of the most chilling aspects of the Tuskegee and Kaiser Experiments is how zealously the federal government kept patients from enforcing their rights to informed consent, to control their treatment options, to obtain second opinions, and to protection by government regulators.


    Kaiser’s kidney failure patients believed they had found hope when they were offered medical care funded by United States taxpayers. They have been betrayed.


    President Obama should apologize to Kaiser’s kidney failure patients and terminate Attorney General Holder’s protection of the Kaiser Experiment. Rather, his administration has made a mockery of President Clinton’s apology to the Tuskegee survivors:


    “No power on Earth can give you back the lives lost, the pain suffered, the years of internal torment and anguish. What was done cannot be undone. But we can end the silence. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye and finally say on behalf of the American people, what the United States government did was shameful, and I am sorry."

     

    On May 16, 1997, President Clinton apologized to black Americans. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/may97/tuskegee_5-16.html

     

    October 3, 2010

    A special emphasis of our website www.hmohardball.com is Health Fraud Analytics™ aimed at exposing fraud that injures patients and damages and diminishes the excellence of what healthcare should be in America. We have already produced two investigations, of high significance to patients, which have not been disputed by either the government of the United States or Kaiser Permanente. We welcome their attempts to discredit our work, as we are prepared to respond.

    As stated in the last sentence of the original posting, on May 16, 1997, President Clinton apologized to black Americans for the 50 year, U.S. government sponsored Tuskegee experiment.

    On October 1, 2010 another Clinton, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State apologized to the government of Guatemala for American public health doctors deliberately infecting nearly 700 Guatemalans with venereal diseases in a human research experiment to test the effect of penicillin on venereal disease, especially syphilis.

    Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, also participated in this forced apology in that Dr. John C. Cutler, a U.S. Federal Public Health Service physician oversaw the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and the syphilis experiments in Guatemala. Dr. Cutler defended his actions to the day he died and so will all other Dr. Cutler clones working throughout the healthcare system and ancillary systems today.

    These Guatemalan human lab rats were infected using prostitutes, spinal puncture injections and pouring syphilis bacteria into cuts made on these victims’ penises and other body areas.

    These bureaucratic apologies are insults, especially to those who suffered directly and their families. These empty expressions of concern assault human dignity and will repeated in one form or another again and aging and again. They are nothing more than little speeches to be given and then forgotten.

    In a way, these experiments can be seen as one race assaulting another race; white Caucasians assaulting people of color.

    A final question for your consideration:

    What deadly traps for patients have been written into the healthcare reform legislation?

    AKA, in amended form, as the Affordable [Health] Care Act.

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