Kaiser whistleblower settles lawsuit over abrupt firing ? Merlin asked Kaiser for $5 million in damages
by Chris Rauber
David Merlin, the former administrative director of Kaiser Permanente?s troubled Northern California kidney transplant unit, has settled his wrongful termination lawsuit against Kaiser following a Dec. 18 arbitration hearing.
Merlin lost his job in February 2006 after eight weeks, following his questioning the safety, management and oversight of the unit by Kaiser and its Permanente Medical Group. The suit, filed in mid-July in San Francisco Superior Court and seeking at least $5 million in damages, said the transplant program ?was so poorly organized and unprofessionally managed that it failed to comply with state and federal requirements and was compromising patient care, leading to unnecessary suffering and possibly deaths.?
Merlin also brought his concerns to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) and other regulators, and to the news media, resulting in a
series of huge fines, scathing regulatory reports and media scrutiny of the transplant center?s woes.
Matthew Schiffgens, Kaiser?s spokesman on the transplant issue, confirmed that the Oakland-based health-care giant had settled the case, without providing any further details.