My name is Emily Ryan. I'm a Courage Campaign member and psychiatric social worker for Kaiser Permanente in Roseville, California. Recently I came forward, along with several colleagues, to blow the whistle on Kaiser's illegal and morally inexcusable mental health policies.
We've risked our careers to contribute to “Care Delayed, Care Denied” a report by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which was featured in USA Today¹ and The Huffington Post.² Now, Kaiser will use its army of lobbyists and PR flacks to try to stop an investigation. This "non-profit" corporation has made more than $5.4 billion in the last three years and pays its CEO a salary of $9 million a year. Unless Governor Brown's Department of Managed Health Care pursues an investigation, Kaiser's billion dollar spin machine will succeed in silencing our voices.
We need your help. Please click here to demand Governor Brown start an investigation.
If you or anyone in your family suffers from mental illness or acute emotional pain, you know how damaging it can be. If they have Kaiser, they're likely to have an experience like Timm Sinclair, who told us,
My mother, a Kaiser member of 20 years, is 77 years old and has Parkinson's. She also suffers from chronic recurrent depression and severe anxiety disorder. The difficulties in getting her psychological and psychiatric needs met at Kaiser have been distressing for her and for me. Along with a revolving cast of doctors and therapists we have encountered lengthy delays of up to three months. I find it inconceivable that an organization that is supposedly dedicated to ensuring that their members 'Thrive' would allow this to happen.
Join us to demand Governor Brown direct the Department of Managed Health Care to investigate Kaiser!
Kaiser puts profits before patients. This year, they raised rates an average of 9.5% and are planning another hike -- their second in six months -- this January, but they refuse to hire enough staff to serve their patients adequately. Our report -- based a survey of over 300 Kaiser mental health professionals practicing at 57 Kaiser facilities in Northern and Southern California -- revealed the following:
• 90% report there is insufficient staffing at their clinic;
• patients, including those suffering from major depression and thoughts of suicide, are frequently forced to wait four weeks or longer for return appointments, despite California law requiring they be seen within ten business days;
• Kaiser falsifies patient scheduling records to conceal these delays from state regulators;
• and Kaiser often funnels patients into group therapy even when clinicians believe that individual therapy would be more effective.
Please ask the Governor to stand up for Timm, his mother, and the thousands of patients who rely on the country's largest HMO for their mental health services.
Kaiser Permanente psychiatric social worker and Courage Campaign member
1. USA Today
2. Huffington Post