California Democratic Party passes resolution calling on Kaiser to improve its mental health services
The California Democratic Party passed a resolution Sunday, June 2, calling on Kaiser Permanente to achieve “full parity for mental health patients” by “boosting clinician staffing to levels sufficient to ensure timely access to appropriate care” and providing “Kaiser’s mental health clinicians with the same raises and benefits enjoyed by all other members of Kaiser’s unionized workforce throughout the State of California.”
The resolution, which passed without opposition by the 3,000 delegates present at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, also calls on Kaiser to strictly limit its practice of referring out more than 60,000 patients per year to non-Kaiser therapists, who often have no available appointments and can’t coordinate their care with Kaiser doctors.
“California Democratic Party delegates have sent a strong message to Kaiser Permanente that the party supports mental health clinicians and Kaiser patients in demanding that Kaiser fix its mental health services,” said Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents the state’s Kaiser mental health clinicians.
In April, San Francisco became the first city to go on record supporting proposals made by Kaiser’s nearly 4,000 psychologists, therapists, social workers and psychiatric nurses. The Berkeley City Council passed a similar resolution in May.
The caregivers, who held a five-day strike in December, have authorized an open-ended strike to demand that Kaiser stop making their patients wait months for therapy appointments and provide workers the same benefits and salary adjustments as its other unionized workers.