Press Release: Berkeley City Council passes resolution calling on Kaiser to improve mental health care

May 29th, 2019

The Berkeley City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling on Kaiser Permanente to achieve “full parity for mental health patients.”

The resolution, introduced by Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmembers Kate Harrison, Cheryl Davila and Rigel Robinson, urges Kaiser to sufficiently staff its mental health clinics to reduce wait times ranging from one-to-four months for mental health treatment appointments. It also calls on Kaiser to strictly limit its practice of referring out more than 60,000 patients per year to non-Kaiser therapists, who often have no available appointments and can’t coordinate their care with Kaiser doctors.

Last month, San Francisco became the first city to go on record supporting proposals made by Kaiser’s nearly 4,000 psychologists, therapists, social workers and psychiatric nurses. The caregivers, who held a five-day strike in December, have authorized an open-ended strike to demand that Kaiser stop making their patients wait months for therapy appointments and provide workers the same benefits and salary adjustments as its other unionized workers.

“Berkeley council members have sent a strong message to Kaiser that the city supports mental health clinicians and Kaiser patients in demanding that Kaiser fix its mental health services,” said Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents Kaiser mental health clinicians.