Kaiser workers blow whistle on behalf of patient care

November 30th, 2011

Kaiser Psychiatric Social Worker Emily Ryan and Psychologist Spencer Gross joined by Rebecca Gonzales, California chapter National Association of Social WorkersKaiser workers filed a complaint Tuesday morning in Sacramento with the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) calling on the agency to investigate deficiencies in Kaiser’s delivery of mental health care.

The complaint puts workers’ concerns for patient care firmly at the center of the call for an investigation:

“Timely and appropriate mental health care is crucial for the well-being of California consumers.  Treatment that is delayed can seriously jeopardize the mental health of a client and can accelerate the progression of a mental health condition.  This can have very serious consequences not only for patients but for the well being and safety of others.”

Two weeks ago, NUHW released a report based on a survey of more than 300 Kaiser clinicians, “Care Delayed, Care Denied” documenting how Kaiser Permanente, California’s largest HMO, systematically understaffs its mental health services in violation of California state law.

The DMHC complaint filing was covered in the San Franicsco Chronicle, Sacramento Business Journal, California Healthline, KTVU and KQED.