We’re on the Road to Somewhere

Welcome to 90 Days to Change, the website developed in 2014 by a (now former) Kaiser Permanente psychotherapist to promote improvements in mental health services at California’s largest HMO. The First 90 Days (Reader’s Edition) provides an account of my last three months at Kaiser, as I promoted positive change from within. After being relieved of duty prematurely, I spent another three months reaching out to consumer protection agencies and politicians. You can read about this search for allies in The Second 90 Days (Reader’s Edition).

With the February 24, 2015 release of the Department of Managed Health Care’s stunning follow-up report,  I’m encouraged to stay involved, to write about the next phase in the transformation, and to advocate for as rapid a change as possible.

Now that a California State agency has corroborated the testimony of Kaiser’s 2600 mental health practitioners, the pressure is really on the Feds to address the widespread and appalling treatment of people with mental illness, Americans under the legal protection of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (2008) and the Mental Health Parity Act (1996). The randomized audit of services, detailed in the State agency’s report, creates a precedent for a similar investigation to be led by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, concerning the subset of Kaiser mental health patients being treated by the Kaiser Advantage Medicare program.

So much has been accomplished already — by the psychotherapists at Kaiser, their patients, and their patients’ families and friends. As a result of years of perseverance, the State has started to do its part. It’s time for the Feds to do theirs.