Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa fighting $55K fine for COVID-19 violations from state regulators

22 February 2021

State regulators fined Kaiser Permanente $55,350 for safety violations at its Santa Rosa medical center, alleging Sonoma County’s largest health care provider failed to take adequate steps to prevent COVID-19 from spreading through its workforce.

The fines, which are being challenged by Kaiser, emerged from a six-month investigation launched last year by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health that found the HMO did not properly train employees to protect themselves against airborne pathogens and failed to alert workers who had been exposed to the coronavirus.

Cal/OSHA alleged Kaiser didn’t fully investigate those exposures, which took place in the emergency department and the primary floor where people with COVID-19 were receiving care. Kaiser employees were given inadequate protective gear, including air purifying respirators “with defective face shields that were being held together by duct tape,” according to the Nov. 20 citation.

Kaiser Permanente immediately filed an appeal and has denied some of the allegations, saying they date back to earlier days in the pandemic when some current state and federal regulations were not yet in place.

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