Mental health therapists to protest Biden fundraiser at Los Angeles home of Kaiser Permanente board member

May 8th, 2019

Mental health therapists to protest Biden fundraiser Wednesday at Los Angeles home of Kaiser Permanente board member

LOS ANGELES — In his first fundraising trip to Los Angeles since launching his presidential campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden will be confronted by Kaiser Permanente psychologists, social workers, therapists and psychiatric nurses Wednesday outside the home of Kaiser board member Cynthia Telles. The noontime fundraiser will be hosted both by Telles, with guests required to contribute between $250 and $2,800 to Biden’s campaign fund.

WHAT: Protest outside the home of Cynthia Telles and Joe Waz

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8

WHERE: 627 South Plymouth Boulevard, Los Angeles

Telles, a licensed psychologist and prominent Democratic fundraiser, has been paid nearly $3 million since 2003 to serve as the only mental health professional on Kaiser’s 14-member Board of Directors. For nearly a decade, Kaiser’s mental health clinicians have sought an audience with Telles to help fix Kaiser’s broken mental health system that forces patients to wait months to see their therapists. While Telles has rejected every overture, Kaiser has been fined $4 million for violating California’s Mental Health Parity Act and found deficient in three consecutive state mental health investigations dating back to 2013.

Biden has voiced concerns about the state of mental health care in the United States, saying: “The fact that less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need is unacceptable.” However, Biden’s campaign team has ignored several requests from Kaiser therapists for him to address Kaiser’s mental health issues during Wednesday’s fundraiser.

“Vice President Biden has said the right things about improving mental health; now he has the chance to do the right thing by standing with Kaiser clinicians and patients committed to making Kaiser provide timely and adequate care,” said Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents Kaiser’s 3,500 mental health clinicians in California. “The fact is nearly 9 million Californians pay Kaiser for mental health coverage, and they’re not getting it. The Vice President’s statements about mental health will ring hollow if he can’t make them directly to giant HMOs like Kaiser.”