USA Today: Study: Calif. mental patients force to wait past limit
November 14, 2011
By Kelly Kennedy
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WASHINGTON – Mental health patients in California are often forced to wait for care beyond the 10-day limit required by state law, which is a troubling sign for the 2010 federal health care law’s requirement to treat mental health patients in the same way as those suffering from other ailments, a survey of providers shows.
A survey of 305 mental health providers at 57 California Kaiser Permanente facilities found that mental health patients do not receive needed care in a timely manner, that managers ask employees to “cook the books” so it appears they meet a California law for an initial appointment within 10 days, that patients are funneled into group therapy because there are not enough clinicians for one-on-one care and that clinicians do not have time to perform basic assessments.
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