Mental Health Clinicians establish round-the-clock vigils
In an escalation of their campaign to force Kaiser Permanente to fix its broken mental health system, Kaiser clinicians established an ongoing presence outside Kaiser’s corporate headquarters in Oakland and the Los Angeles Medical Center.
Clinicians staked their claim to both locations in mid-October by unveiling 60-foot-long monuments that are adorned with some of the hundreds of stories submitted by Kaiser patients about their struggles to access mental health care from the giant HMO.
“We are here today to bear witness to the needless suffering our patients have endured, while Kaiser rakes in record profits,” said Mickey Fitzpatrick a psychologist working at Kaiser’s Pleasanton clinic. “And we will be here every day going forward until Kaiser executives finally confront the truth and fix its mental health care system.”
Over the past couple weeks, clinicians have used both locations as gathering spots to call attention the struggles their patients face in accessing care and their inability to provide as many therapy appointments within a time frame that is clinically appropriate.
In Los Angeles, clinicians have held a vigil and weekly rallies at the plaza outside the hospital. After about 100 people gathered for a rally on October 27, Kaiser officials tried to erase the patient stories that clinicians had detailed in colored chalk on the nearby sidewalk, but were prevented from doing so. In Oakland, clinicians held a vigil that was covered by KTVU, a lunchtime rally and a canvassing drive to put our signs in the windows of local businesses.
More events are scheduled at both sites as clinicians prepare for a one-week strike beginning Monday, November 11.