Family Member of Northern California Kaiser Member Speaks Out

I am grandmother of a young man who lost two precious years of his life seeking mental illness treatment at Kaiser Sacramento, two years when he really wanted a reliable psychiatrist and a therapist he could trust, when he had the maximum potential to manage his illness, and become independent. In those two years, we learned that Kaiser denies clients the option to have a schedule of appointments with a therapist/psychologist and maintain any routine appointment times. There is no such thing as an agreement to meet every other Thursday at 3PM–appointments are always fluid. The therapist could not make a commitment to any future appointment until some unknown time when he could call for another appt. There is no schedule that clients can plan upon. My grandson could never make a follow-up appointment with a doctor before leaving the clinic; he always had to “call in a couple of weeks.” There is no treatment plan for clients, the psychiatrist had no contact with a revolving number of therapists/psychologists, and they made no attempt to contact the psychiatrist.

Therapists cancelled appointments on the day of the appointment at least three times. Clerks cancelled appointments because the therapist needed another day of vacation.After seeing the same psychiatrist a couple of times in 2012, he could not get another appointment. The scheduler kept saying the doctor was not making any appointments. After a couple of months we finally called “Member Services’ to complain and found out that the doctor had already left Kaiser shortly after the last visit.

Psychiatrist appointments were cancelled month after month. In 2013, a July appointment was rescheduled for August, that was rescheduled for September, and that was rescheduled for October when the doctor was finally in, and my grandson was seen for the first time since the previous April. By that time, he wanted nothing to do with that system and had no expectations of seeing anyone who wasn’t a stranger at every visit. This is the quality of “treatment” offered to a young man who knew he needed expert medical attention, and wanted advice he could rely upon.

This was an absolute violation of trust that undermines the hopes and heart and waning energy of someone already fighting the odds.

The worst has already happened in our family, and we have lost two brave men who died by suicide. Kaiser practices amount to malpractice.

The $4 Million state fine was a small price for them to pay for running a racket that fleeces people of hope, along with their premiums.