The CalPERS Office of Public Affairs and CalPERS Press in my view are two of the most important offices in all of California State Government.
That is so because they are offices with the power to legitimately and publicly investigate and describe services that are or are not being conducted properly when tax payer and retiree resources are being used to finance those services.
Generally speaking, I have great respect for both the CalPERS Office of Public Affairs and the CalPERS Press.
However, recently, as a patient advocate, I have had great difficulty in obtaining either Offices' attention regarding a violation of ethics, and charity; a clear incident of patient abandonment, and alleged breaking of State and Federal Elder Abuse laws taking place less than twenty miles from the Office's location....all violations that deal with programs coordinated by CalPERS. [continued below]....
At the South Sacramento Kaiser Permanente campus, the Department of Physical Medicine, under the command of Dr. Susan Scholey, has abandoned a State retiree, Dr. Ronald Bernard, a former Department of Social Services' manager; consultant on loan at commander rank to the California Highway Patrol; as well as the designer of the computer systems used to track the field recovery of Californians in the aftermath of both the Los Angles and San Francisco earthquakes of the 1980's. These systems were designed by Dr. Bernard on an emergency basis, his having to put in 96 hour shifts in order for FEMA and the Department of Social Services to be able to respond to recovery needs. During that time, Dr. Bernard was clearly a hero who was never properly recognized. Perhaps now the Office of Public Affairs and CalPERS Press can make up for that oversight.
Over the heartfelt and vociferous objections of his attending physician, Dr. Bernard has been abandoned by both the Department of Physical Medicine, as well as all administrators with the power to countermand the abandonment order of Dr. Susan Scholey.
There are several reports both on the Ripoff Report and the Scam Informer describing the abandonment, and abuse, so I won't spend an untoward amount of time describing the problems here.
However, that said, it is critically important that the Office of Public Affairs and CalPERS Press investigate and publish information relative to this case, for several important reasons.
First, information of this kind is seldom available when Kaiser Permanente's level of services are described for the purpose of aiding members to decide which direction to take when choosing a medical provider for themselves and their families.
Second, the patient is suffering from a crushed spine, and without the services of his spine specialist, Dr. Gary Rinzler, he is subject to intense pain, pain that is totally unnecessary, and controllable as it had been for ten years prior to the promotion of Dr. Scholey to the position of Chief of the Department of Physical Medicine just three months ago. As you will read in other RipOff Reports, she is a physician capable of carrying personal vendettas forward and punishing patients and subordinates alike for perceived personal slights.
Thirdly, State employees need to hear about a former hero like Dr. Bernard. State employees need to be reassured that their services are critical to the health of the State, and to read of the "exploits" of Dr. Bernard while the Office of Public Affairs investigates Dr. Scholey's actions. Such descriptions will have a marvelous effect on State employee morale, and reenforce in State employees' minds that someone does indeed care to make certain that they are taken care of both now and in the future.
Fourth, only minds trained to see through PR obfuscations will be able to understand why it is that patients rarely, if ever, have their inputs considered by CalPERS relative to Kaiser services.
In another Report on this site a patient advocate speaks of the ways in which abandonment and abuse are hidden by Kaiser Permanente including:
-Office of the Ombudsman
-Prohibitions in place prohibiting Kaiser employees from divulging the abuses and abandonments they personally witness;
-Member Services (Kaiser) complaint and appeals processes that haven't found FOR a patient in over ten years;
-Risk Management units in major cities which meet in secret and whose members are never identified to either patients or authorized representatives, and whose findings always begin with the word "DENIED;"
And, several more, the upshot of which is to bury (sometimes literally) patient complaints which otherwise would paint a picture of Kaiser Permanente far removed from the requirements of the Hippocratic Oath.
In other words, the Office of Public Affairs and CalPERS Press will not only have a good story, but might be able, simply by investigating, to correct a wrong being perpetrated on a State retiree, even though CalPERS is paying Kaiser Permanente $5,000 annually to deliver services to this person and his family. None of Dr. Bernard's family is receiving any services at all as of this writing. However, Kaiser Permanente continues to accept CalPERS funds.
Dr. Gary Rinzler, Dr. Bernard's spinal physician has vehemently attempted to restore services to Dr. Bernard, but he too has been penalized for these attempts. Even a second and third opinion delivered in support of Dr. Rinzler has not moved Kaiser management to do the right thing.
Congress passed the Elder Abuse laws to prevent this very kind of behavior, and just plain decency would command quick remedial action.
All appeals and direct contacts to higher management at Kaiser Permanente, including appeals to Kaiser Plaza in the Bay Area, have proven fruitless, as the medical community in charge continue to oppose one of the best trained physicians in the spinal area in the Country, Dr. Rinzler (Trained at Massachusetts General Hospital.)
So, I beg of CalPERS Office of Public Affairs and CalPERS Press to simply call these people on this case. Doing so will certainly open CalPERS eyes to a suspicion that a five star rating for Kaiser Permanente services may be way over the top in terms of a numerical description of what former State heroes can expect once their stars begin to fade.
Dr. Bernard is now 69 years of age, is suffering, with no relief in site.
Additional information regarding this matter can be obtained (as mentioned above) on this site, the Ripoff Report, by using the search box under the titles:
"Dr. Susan Scholey"
"Kaiser Permanente Risk Management"
"Dr. Robert Midgley"
"Dr. Robert Pearl"
"Dr. Richard Isaacs"
These reports have been submitted by the patient advocate network which has been very active regarding this most obvious case of abandonment, State retiree abuse and clear dereliction of duty by Kaiser Permanente.
Both Dr. Gary Rinzler and Dr. Ken Hu have verified that the regimen that had been followed so long (ten years) and so effectively by Dr. Bernard is exactly appropriate to care for Dr. Bernard.
It is Dr. Susan Scholey alone who made the decision to abandon Dr. Bernard, and subsequently it has been the supporting administrators' covering for this doctor that has created such a terrible situation for this honorable State retiree.