Tag Archives: denial of care

Huffington Post: Kaiser is Failing its Mental Health Patients

Kaiser Permanente is Failing its Mental Health Patients, Huffington Post

by Sal Roselli, President, National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW)
10/24/2014

kaisers mental health care crisisIn September, after more than a year of stonewalling its patients and employees, Kaiser Permanente finally paid a $4-million fine levied against it by state regulators because of the HMO’s chronic, illegal, and too often tragic failures in mental health care.

Spurred by whistleblower complaints from Kaiser’s own mental health clinicians, an investigation by the state’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) 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 hit Kaiser with a $4-million fine — the second largest in the agency’s history — 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.

To read the rest of the article, click here: Kaiser Permanente is Failing is Failing its Mental Health Patients

Press Democrat: “Kaiser Mental Health Services Under Fire at Forum”

Last night a public forum was held in Santa Rosa to discuss the issue of mental health parity. Most of the attendees, speaking about their own personal experiences, focused their criticism on Kaiser Permanente’s substandard mental health services.

“Kaiser Permanente Mental Health Services Under Fire at Forum”
by Martin Espinoza, September 24, 2014

StaRosaPressDemo-KaiserUnderFireAtForum9-24-14Kaiser Permanente’s local mental health services were strongly criticized Wednesday evening during a public forum in Santa Rosa aimed at spotlighting laws that require insurance providers to offer equal coverage for both mental health and physical health conditions.

A majority of the at least 40 speakers who addressed a panel, which included state and federal health care officials, blasted Kaiser, saying the HMO had failed to provide adequate and timely mental health services.

Jessica Birrer, 34, of Santa Rosa said she has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for 12 years. Birrer said she has not received sufficient care from Kaiser mental health professionals, whom she has seen only three times in the past two years, twice related to medication services and once for therapy treatment.

“I have done everything I can to receive the treatment that I need,” Birrer said. “Until I get the treatment I need, I won’t give up on myself. As far as I’m concerned Kaiser has given up on me.”

To read the entire article, click here: “Kaiser Permanente Mental Health Services Under Fire at Forum.

Class Action Lawsuits Filed against Kaiser for Denying Patients Mental Health Services

Two separate class action lawsuits have been filed against Kaiser for denying patients access to mental health services. These lawsuits serve to underscore the severity of Kaiser’s mental health violations.

The first lawsuit, filed by the firm of Siegel LeWitter Malkani, alleges that Kaiser’s systemic denial of mental health services was the contributing factor in the suicide of a Kaiser patient. It also states that two of the named plaintiffs were forced to pay thousands of dollars in out of pocket costs in order to get the care that Kaiser should have provided them.

The second lawsuit, filed in Southern California, states that Kaiser undertook the “illegal practice of systematically denying weekly psychotherapy to its members.” The lawsuit highlights NUHW’s 2011 complaint to the DMHC that detailed Kaiser’s substandard mental health services.

State regulators examining Kaiser’s mental health services

The Department of Managed Health Care, one of the state agencies responsible for regulating Kaiser, is currently conducting a follow-up survey of Kaiser Permanente to determine whether or not the HMO is complying with state law. In June of 2013, the DMHC fined Kaiser $4 million for violating multiple provisions of state law, including California’s Timely Access Regulations and the California Mental Health Parity Act. The DMHC’s investigation was triggered by a complaint filed by NUHW in November of 2011 in the form of a 35-page report entitled, “Care Delayed, Care Denied.”