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Kaiser Permanente Puts Patients First

January 03, 2002

Jamie Court's Dec. 28 commentary, "Repair, Don't Merely Bandage, Health Care," makes some important points. However, to believe that high-quality, accessible health care, with all the latest technology, can be provided without an ongoing increase in costs is unrealistic. This is a fact that has been largely ignored by consumer rights groups.

Fortunately there is a health care delivery model, pioneered here in California, that has successfully addressed these problems for the past 50 years. I refer to Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit, capitation-based, group-model HMO. It provides comprehensive, integrated care and has important built-in quality-assurance features. Kaiser physicians practice evidence-based medicine, emphasize preventive health care and are committed to providing accessible care at an affordable price. It may not always be perfect, but having practiced with the group for 46 years (I'm now retired) and having been active in the general medical community as well, I believe it's the "best game in town."

Instead of Kaiser-bashing, which Court and The Times are wont to do, I would hope they'd acknowledge Kaiser Permanente's positive features and commend its accomplishments.

Samuel Sapin MD

Sherman Oaks

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