Kaiser leadership recently distributed a memo on ethics to their organization, which you can read here. Since Kaiser hasn't taking any action whatsoever to address the incidents where people have suffered because of their ethical malfeasance, this memo is just blowing a lot of smoke. The disturbing part, though, is that memo tells employees they have a duty to report ethics violations. However, anyone who works for Kaiser knows that HR has a mandate to back managers under any circumstance, so managers will preemptively move to fire or otherwise retaliate against employees who even hint that there's an ethics problem. Kaiser needs to fix the HR problem first before ordering rank-and-file employees to put their jobs on the line.
In other news, the Labor Panel went very well, and hopefully whatever aired on local TV will soon be available online. I met Justen Deal for the first time in person, and we compared notes on our experiences. I still have hope that Kaiser will review the stance they took toward him, because putting him on unpaid leave for months for a well-intended criticism just makes them look like jerks who put political kowtowing before the good of anyone else - including patients as well as employees.
I have been invited to participate in a panel for the Healthcare Blogging Summit. This summit has brought to light the way corporate interests infiltrate and dominate the public voice - thus silencing, isolating, and delegitimizing critics. Corporate bloggers are paid: they are funded to attend conferences, and when they serve on panels they become known as "professionals" to be taken seriously. There are even corporate sponsorships for people attending the conference, so the HMO and Insurance industries actually *become* the blogosphere. Many corporate critics don't even have ads to support their blogs: everything they do is on their own time and out of their own pocket.
I was honored to be invited to be on a panel of the Healthcare Blogging Summit, and I hope my one determined voice won't be utterly swamped by the sea of corporate stooges. Interested parties can show their support in part by recognizing how some of the rising professional bloggers are being subsidized by corporate interests.
Lastly, somehow I missed that David Merlin settled his lawsuit against Kaiser last month. I'm sure there's a gag order involved, so this is a real loss to the public's right to know about what really happened during the kidney transplant scandal. :-(
Update: At the suggestion of a community participant below, I've set a ChipIn account to raise money for the Healthcare Blogging Summit. For anyone who makes a donation, thanks in advance for your support and please feel free to email me if you need help with a Kaiser-related problem.