This complaint can be summarized using one person's name, Dr. Susan Scholey.
Three months ago, Dr. Scholey assumed control of the Department of Physical Medicine at the South Sacramento Kaiser Medical facility.
Prior to being promoted to full command of that Department, Dr. Scholey had established that there was a physician on staff there, Dr. Gary Rinzler, who was far too patient oriented.
Dr. Rinzler took his time, listened to patients, and, as a result, was not suited to the type of assembly line medicine that, in Susan Scholey's mind, was the only type of medicine a place like Kaiser Permanente could or should offer the public.
By double and triple booking Dr. Rinzler, and penalizing him for falling behind, Dr. Scholey believed she would eventually be able to drive Dr. Rinzler from HER Clinic.
One tactic that Dr. Scholey enforces which is a logical extension of her punitive management style is to post just how far behind her doctors are. [continued below]....
As a patient enters the Clinic, prominently displayed is a board, maintained throughout the day, that announces that Dr. Rinzler is say, ONE HOUR BEHIND. Dr. Felix 1/2 hour. Dr. Lynn, etc.
This is the type of thing Dr. Scholey loves. On the surface, of course, the patient pours venom on Dr. Rinzler, since the patient has no idea that the schedule Dr. Rinzler has been given does not allow him to function properly. In actuality, we the "Scholey Schedule," the further behind a doctor is, the better the doctor. So, read properly, if a patient were doc shopping, at least in the Spinal Clinic, one would review the board over a few days, determine which physician is consistently the furthest behind on the Scholey Scale, and choose that doctor, the idea being that the doctor who is furthest behind is risking the rather of Scholey by taking the time necessary to thoroughly listen to his patient and making sure nothing is missed prior to moving on to the next. (Of course, Dr. Rinzler has been penalized financially over and over again by Scholey for doing this. You want to talk about bravery, and honoring the Hippocratic Oath, look in Dr. Rinzler's direction.)
(NOTE: As I've said in other places, this information is NOT coming from Dr. Rinzler. Persons working in and around the Spinal Clinic, who understand when laws are being broken, and patients abandoned, have come forward. They are to be commended for their bravery as well.)
Often on weekends and in the evenings, if one were to visit the Clinic, one would find Dr. Rinzler attempting to catch up on his charting, but to no avail. Dr. Scholey will not let up until she is either removed from command or Dr. Rinzler collapses. Naturally we would opt for the former.
So long as Dr. Rinzler's health holds up, he will attempt to cope with the injustice and tyranny at the Department for the sake of his patients.
Notified of Dr. Rinzler's situation, what did the chain of command, composed of Dr. Rinzler's friends, before an Affirmative Action appointment was made in the Spinal Clinic?.... Not a thing. Not a blessed thing, but to offer crooked smiles whenever Dr. Rinzler by chance might meet one of these physicians on an elevator.
But, you say, what does this have to do with the patient I am reviewing, Dr. Ronald Bernard, a former semi-professional football player with a severely compromised spinal condition?
Frankly it shouldn't have anything to do with him, except this 69 year old former athlete is not made of the same friendship substance the chain of command at Kaiser South Sacramento are made of.
Noting the obvious abuse to which Dr. Rinzler was being subjected, Dr. Bernard objected strenuously, and Dr. Scholey to her credit in terms of consistency turned her wrath toward Dr. Bernard.
Dr. Scholey has more than room enough in her vindictive arsenal to cover two men.
When Dr. Rinzler took a few weeks off to attempt to recover from Dr. Scholey's persecution, Scholey took on Dr. Bernard's case personally, and, even though the patient was doing well, and had been for ten years, threatened his ongoing regimen with a series of assessments, the results of which could only have negative effects on the patient.
Asked for medical or scientific reasons for the new assessments, Dr. Scholey produced only personal bias having nothing to do with the welfare of the patient.
However, once Dr. Rinzler returned from sick leave, Dr. Bernard allowed Dr. Rinzler to schedule the required new assessment which resulted in a confirmation that Dr. Bernard's condition and regimen were appropriate.
However, by this time, Dr. Scholey had processed Dr. Bernard out of the Spinal Clinic as a trouble maker, and the chain of command, frightened of Scholey's wrath, simply shrugged their shoulders and hoped that Susan Scholey never had it in for them.
Dr. Rinzler vociferously objected to the patient not having access to the Spinal Clinic, since the patient's crushed spine needed monitoring, even though such monitoring took place only on an annual basis. At the age of 69, such a condition could deteriorate rapidly, and it is only a specialist who would have sufficient knowledge to understand the symptoms of such deterioration.
So, where did Susan Scholey send Dr. Bernard's case file. ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE, at least not within the South Sacramento Medical Facility.
Dr. Bernard's case file is now in Oakland. That's right. Oakland. And what is in Oakland? A cadre of attorneys referred to as RISK MANAGEMENT.
If you have read this far, you understand that these attorneys are not there to limit the risk to patients. No no. These attorneys are there to limit the risk to Kaiser Permanente when local managers such as Dr. Susan Scholey really really put Kaiser's neck in a noose.
Well, what is the patient's reaction to all this?
Dr. Bernard is not a vindictive personality. All he has ever required is that he be returned to Dr. Rinzler to continue their long standing medical relationship.
Difficult? Not really, if one were to look at the problem from a commonsensical point of view.
However, these are attorneys after all, and there have been an entire army of people thus far who have not come to this patient's aid here.
They include, Dr. Richard Isaacs, the Physician-in-Chief at Kaiser South Sacramento. This may have to do with the location of Dr. Isaacs' office nearly directly across from the cafeteria. After all, with all those hamburgers and jello staring him in the face when he exists his office, one can understand that his energies are spent in line, when he might be reviewing some of the actions of his medical supervisors. (It is not for trying to get Richard involved that he has not intervened. We have. But, those aromas..........heavenly.)
Dr. Evan Bloom? Well, Dr. Bloom, the Assistant Physician-in-Chief spends lots of his energies attempting to convince everyone that he has nothing to do with anything. After all, he is just an Assistant Physician in Chief, and, as such, we can't expect much from him, even in an advocacy role. He just doesn't want to get involved. He wants to play doctor with the children, and carry an administrative tile, but that's as far as it goes. Dr. Bloom is a smiley guy though. Have to give him that.
Dr. Robert Midgley? MedLegal, Kaiser South Sacramento. An interesting piece of work. Three years ago, while serving on the SOUTH SACRAMENTO ETHICS COMMITTEE, Dr. Midgley was THE physician who decided that Dr. Gary Rinzler, also on the committee at that time, was the only physician on staff appropriate to monitor Dr. Bernard's case. Now, since it is Susan Scholey he would have to oppose in order to maintain a semblance of consistency, he has decided, like the others carrying administrative duties at South Sacramento, to play it safe, and just stay out of Scholey's way. When we went to Dr. Midgley's office on the second floor of the main building overlooking the latte service on the first floor, we found that he had gone on vacation. Just another hard day's night for the patient.
Well anyway, now Dr. Bernard's case is resting in Oakland. And, who at Oakland is communicating with the patient? Answer: NO ONE.
They will meet in secret, and at some unknown date, they, THE RISK MANAGEMENT TEAM, will either issue a cancellation of insurance or a denial of Dr. Bernard's appeal to be seen in the Spinal Clinic.
Never, ever would they do the right thing, and overturn Dr. Scholey's view. They will never find that Dr. Rinzler's medical opinion in the areas most critical to this patient is superior to Dr. Scholey's. After all, Dr. Rinzler spent time understanding many of the areas this patient's condition requires at Massachusetts General Hospital (the best in the world), and then eleven years in private practice in Hawaii, returning to the Mainland only because of the need of one of his, Dr. Rinzler's children.
There you have it. A Kaiser absurdity, and all the while the patient, Member 2029522, maintains the same posture: IF ANYONE IS LISTENING. Simply return the patient to the Spinal Clinic and the care of his specialist, Dr. Gary Rinzler, and all will be well.
IF ANYONE IS LISTENING: Ask Dr. Rinzler why he is the most qualified to oversee this elder American's case by training vs Dr. Susan Scholey, a former Worker's Compensation physician.
Will anyone at Risk Management, Oakland ask? Well, I'll leave you, the reader, at this time to think about that. Do you believe, at this point, anyone representing Kaiser Permanente is going to do the simple thing, the thing that would have prevented all the turmoil to begin with?
Short of a law suit, my opinion is that Kaiser Permanente will never bend to patient need, once weaknesses in the fabric of the Permanente system are exposed.
Maybe I'm wrong. I still hold some flicker of hope that a champion of reason will emerge.
Perhaps it's just too hard for attorney's to understand that peace could be so easily won in South Sacramento. Time is certainly running out. The patient can't live forever, even a fine football player.