Kaiser, Don't Deny

Patients need access to timely and consistent mental health services

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Patient Stories

These kids struggle to access appropriate care

Published Saturday, March 2, 2019

I work directly in schools and regularly work with adolescents going through mental health crises. I saw time and time again these kids struggle to access appropriate care — or any care at all. Adolescents clearly in need of consistent therapy were coming to us with their parents, saying that all they received from Kaiser was a prescription for medication. The lucky ones who were given access to minimal care (twice per month instead of the weekly therapy they needed) saw difficulty scheduling actual appointments. I was appalled to find out that many of these students never got an appointment —  Kaiser simply refilled their medication prescription. The ONLY times I saw Kaiser step up was after these adolescents attempted suicide. Only then were they given access to consistent therapy sessions (although these were still group therapy sessions instead of the superior individual sessions), and these sessions were still time-limited. Parents were paying out-of-pocket for non-Kaiser therapists to see their children — a heavy and inexplicable burden considering they were paying for their Kaiser health insurance. Kaiser clearly uses a “wait to fail” model rather than being proactive — a very irresponsible and negligent choice when our children’s lives are at stake.

San Mateo