SF Examiner Op-Ed: Kaiser Must be Held Accountable for Mental Health Care Failures

The San Francisco Examiner recently published an op-ed by Sal Roselli, the president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, calling on the Department of Managed Health Care to hold Kaiser Accountable for the various problems with its mental health care services.

Kaiser Must be Held Accountable for Mental Health Care Failures, by Sal Roselli

September 4, 2014

Kaiser Permanente is failing its mental health patients.

kaiser photoSpurred by whistle-blower complaints from Kaiser’s own mental health clinicians, an investigation by the state’s Department of Managed Health Care found the HMO guilty of serious and systemic violations of California law that put mental health patients at risk. The result: In June 2013, the DMHC levied a $4 million fine — the second-largest in the agency’s history — against Kaiser for forcing thousands of patients to endure illegally lengthy waits for care, falsifying patients’ appointment records, and violating the California Mental Health Parity Act, which requires HMOs to provide psychiatric services that are on par with their primary health services.

“Kaiser appealed, of course, but now faces the prospect of a hearing, scheduled to begin Monday in Oakland, during which patients and whistle-blowers would give public testimony regarding Kaiser’s deficient care. For weeks, Kaiser has been negotiating a settlement with the DMHC in hopes of avoiding such a spectacle, and a settlement is indeed likely given Kaiser’s political connections.

“The National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents 2,500 mental health professionals at more than 100 facilities throughout California, stands with the thousands of patients who have suffered as a result of Kaiser’s violations in calling for the DMHC to hold Kaiser accountable.”

To read the full op-ed, click here: SF Examiner: Kaiser Must be Held Accountable.