Kaiser’s Mental Health Patients Forced To Wait for Care, Study Finds
In California, mental health care patients often are forced to wait for care beyond the 10-day limit that the state Mental Health Parity Act has established, according to a study by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, USA Today reports.
For the study, NUHW surveyed 305 mental health care providers at 57 Kaiser Permanente facilities in California.
According to the survey, Kaiser Permanente managers asked their employees to tweak hospital records so it appeared that patients had been seen by physicians within the state-mandated 10-day period.
The survey alsoÂ found that clinicians did not have time to perform basic assessments and that patients were treated with group therapy because there are not enough clinicians to provide one-on-one sessions.
According to the study:
- More than 50% of clinicians said their next available appointment was more than 10 business days away; and
- More than 65% said return appointments took longer than 10 days.
Don Mordecai -- regional director of mental health and chemical dependency services for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California -- said information from the study "does not align in any way with our own data, nor with independent evaluations of our services."
Mordecai added that Kaiser's clinicians "provide timely access to high-quality mental health care" (Kennedy, USA Today, 11/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.