State Says Kaiser Too Slow With Mental Health Care

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The claims against Kaiser are based on a routine medical survey done by the state Department of Managed Health Care…or DMHC…which is led by Brent Barnhart.

“I wasn’t prepared for kind of the sweeping non-compliance that we encountered.” '

The DMHC survey found that 40% of the wait times at Kaiser for mental health service appointment were longer than 14 days, a violation of state rules. Barnhart says two-weeks is too long for someone who needs quick intervention.

“Particularly in a case where somebody is really significantly depressed or troubled and potentially suicidal that’s a major problem, it’s not just an inconvenience.”

In a statement, Kaiser officials say: they’ve been working to speed up the timeliness of initial, non-urgent appointments; that the $4 million fine is excessive and unnecessary; and that they will review the fine with the DMHC.

Nearly 7 million people get their coverage from Kaiser, making it the largest health care system in California.


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