A 22-Year-Old's Tirade
Made Trouble for Kaiser;
Mr. Deal Got Fired, Famous
By RHONDA L. RUNDLE
April 24, 2007; Page A1
LOS ANGELES -- On a Friday morning last November, Justen Deal, a 22-year-old Kaiser Permanente employee here, blasted an email throughout the giant health maintenance organization. His message charged that HealthConnect -- the company's ambitious $4 billion project to convert paper files into electronic medical records -- was a mess.
In a blistering 2,000-word treatise, Mr. Deal wrote: "We're spending recklessly, to the tune of over $1.5 billion in waste every year, primarily on HealthConnect, but also on other inefficient and ineffective information technology projects." He did not stop there. Mr. Deal cited what he called the "misleadership" of Kaiser Chief Executive George Halvorson and other top managers, who he said were jeopardizing the company's ability to provide quality care.
"For me, this isn't just an issue of saving money," he wrote. "It could very well become an issue of making sure our physicians and nurses have the tools they need to save lives."