Kaiser, Don't Deny
Patients need access to consistent, reliable mental health services
Kaiser Permanente provides quality medical care, but its mental health care system is understaffed and under-resourced. Our patients are routinely forced to wait far too long between therapy appointments or told to call through lists of non-Kaiser therapists hoping someone might return their call.
Over the past decade, we’ve staged strikes, filed numerous complaints with state regulators and helped pass laws requiring that Kaiser and other insurers provide parity for mental health care. But Kaiser’s mental health crisis keeps growing worse.
That’s why we’re fighting to enshrine these patient care standards in our contract, so they are clear, strong, and enforceable.
- Sufficient Staffing to Provide Timely Care: Kaiser must hire enough clinicians so it can offer behavioral health patients follow-up appointments within 10 business days – the same timeliness standard California has set for initial appointments. (or “as required by a new state law that will go into effect in 2022.)
- Adequate Time to Provide Comprehensive Care: High-quality behavioral health care requires more than just face-to-face therapy. To improve patient care, clinicians must have at least six hours per week available to do charting, develop tailored treatment plans, return phone calls and emails from patients in distress, and ensure patients are receiving the help beyond Kaiser they need to support their recovery.
- Clinician-Directed Care: Kaiser clinicians must be able to determine and direct the appropriate course of care for patients without hindrance from Kaiser’s administrative and data collection systems that restricts their ability to document when patients are being made to wait longer than is clinically appropriate between therapy sessions.