Regulators slam Kaiser (again) for failures in mental health services

March 2nd, 2015

The California Department of Managed Health Care finally released its long-awaited follow-up survey of Kaiser Permanente’s mental health services, and once again it ain’t a pretty picture. The DMHC found that Kaiser has failed to correct two of the four problems the agency cited and fined Kaiser $4 million for in 2013. Kaiser not only continues to fail to provide timely access to its mental health services, resulting in lengthy and illegal delays for appointments that often have devastating consequences for patients, but the HMO continues to misinform its patients about the services they are entitled to. In verbal and written communications with its members, Kaiser wrongly informs them that Kaiser is not required to provide them with regular, ongoing individual therapy in accordance with their therapists’ recommendations.

“That is not a good performance,” DMHC Director Shelley Rouillard told the Los Angeles Times. “There are still serious concerns about patients’ ability to get timely access to mental health services. Fundamentally it comes down to there are not enough providers in the Kaiser system to serve everyone who needs mental health services. Kaiser must provide mental health services to people who need them based on medical necessity,” she said, “and as long as people need them.”

Click here for more press coverage of the survey.