Mental health patients and providers file complaints about access to care
The state agency that oversees Kaiser Permanente warned Kaiser on Tuesday that it must meet state standards for providing timely access to mental health care during this week’s strike. The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) also invited anyone who had a mental health appointment inappropriately rescheduled this week to call the agency’s help-line at 1-888-466-2219.
NUHW is encouraging Kaiser patients who have suffered from inadequate access to mental health care at any time (not just this week) to call the DMHC helpline. NUHW members who work as Kaiser clinicians can also call the helpline to report what they know.
After listening to several recordings, people who called the help-line are eventually given the option of pressing zero to talk directly to a Department of Managed Healthcare agent. The agents are able to initiate an informal dispute resolution process with Kaiser while you are still on the phone. In the cases where that failed, the DMHC agent explained that patients must file a complaint with Kaiser before filing a complaint with the Department of Managed Health Care. The agent was able to transfer callers to a Kaiser staff member who offered to file expedited grievances over the phone.
Every step that patients and providers take to document the problems they have will help the Department of Managed Health Care address the very real shortcomings of Kaiser’s mental health program.