Kaiser, Don't Deny

Patients need access to consistent, reliable mental health services

Kaiser member forced to pay $1,500 out of pocket per month to get appropriate mental health care

Published Friday, July 30, 2021

Victor Gomez was happy with the care he got from Kaiser Permanente, until he sought treatment for anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder. As he told Capital & Main, Kaiser made his condition far worse by forcing him into group therapy when he needed one-on-one therapy.

“The mental health care is sorely lacking,” Gomez told the news outlet. “It’s based on numbers. It doesn’t even take into account if you did anything about it, just that you talked about it.”

The Capital & Main story illustrates how Kaiser’s broken mental health care system can ruin lives and why Kaiser mental health clinicians are fighting hard to pass legislation and win a contract that will require Kaiser to adequately staff its mental health clinics and provide timely care.

After failing to get the care he needed from Kaiser, Gomez suffered an anxiety attack that resulted in an arrest and a court order that he get treatment for his mental health conditions. But, once again, Kaiser pushed him into group therapy, and Gomez’s conditions actually worsened.

When Gomez’s wife, Karol Jones, came home to find him “in the throes of another panic attack, so frustrated that all he could do was slam his head against their bedroom dresser,” the couple decided to seek care outside of Kaiser.

Despite paying for Kaiser insurance, the couple now is paying $1,500 for the mental health therapy that Gomez needs, but that Kaiser refused to provide.

Here’s what Gomez’s wife, Karol Jones, said in the story about Kaiser:

I really think that Kaiser delaying his treatment spiraled him into a worse situation. That was a missed opportunity for them that really spiraled him into further negative feelings about himself…They’re so good at making sure you get all your preventative medical stuff. I just got another message this morning that I need to go get my mammogram done. They’re great about it, she said. Why can’t they be great at mental health?

 

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