PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — A Pasadena man is suing Kaiser Permanente for $2 million alleging breach of contract and unfair business practices after he says they gave up on him and refused to provide or cover the cost of life-saving care.
Kaiser doctors diagnosed 58-year-old Jalal Afshar with Castleman disease, a rare and often deadly disease that targets the lymph nodes.
“It was very, very painful,” said Afshar. “How could it be it? This is it, this is the end of my life?”
According to Afshar, doctors at Kaiser told him he had run out of options for treatment and sent him home for hospice care.
A former Kaiser employee, Afshar said the non-profit medical group initially granted his request to see an out-of-network specialist in Arkansas.
“It was like, you know, finding your life again,” he said.
The lawsuit alleges that Kaiser ultimately declined to pay for his care, claiming that services were available within his existing plan to treat the disease.
“Kaiser, in bad faith, unreasonably denied medical care that Jalal needed to save his life,” said his attorney, Scott Glovsky.
Afshar continued his treatment out-of-network. Six months later, he is on the way to recovery, but owes $2 million in health care costs.
“He would be dead for sure because they had given up on him,” said his wife, Maryam.
“We should care about people more about their lives than making money,” said Afshar.
“When I was there, they were clearing a couple of billion dollars of pure profit every quarter,” he said.
Kaiser declined an interview, but released a statement Monday.
The statement reads in part:
“We dispute the allegations included in the lawsuit…We did not give up on our member. Respecting patient privacy, we cannot provide details about the treatment options which were made available and being pursued…We will fully address the lawsuit in the proper judicial forum.”