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Patient Stories

I stopped trying to access mental health with Kaiser

Published Tuesday, January 1, 2019

In August 2017 I was new to Kaiser and could feel a depressive episode coming on. I spent weeks trying to arrange therapy through Kaiser, something I have done before without trouble with multiple insurers in multiple states. It took me two weeks just to get to intake, since the phone line was only available during the workweek and would be busy all through lunch. I would ask for call-backs at noon and get callbacks at 11:30, when I was still at work and couldn’t take a call. After four weeks I was able to meet with a therapist, who told me that her techniques were only effective for those with mild or moderate depression and who had never heard of my hormonal medications, despite 20 years of practice. She also told me that despite 20 years of practice in SF, she had never seen a transgender patient on an ongoing basis. Even though I was not seeking a gender therapist, my trans status led her to discourage me from from working with her. After that not working out, I got Magellan to give me a list of names – four of them had no hours that worked for me, and four of them said that they couldn’t support me once I mentioned being transgender. At this point it was six weeks since I had started seeking therapy, and my depression was causing problems at work. I stopped trying to access mental health care through Kaiser and was able to find an out-of-network therapist who was a good fit in less than a week. In terms of accessing ongoing therapy, Kaiser is so bad that I might as well not be insured at all.