California has some patient-friendly regulations on its books, meant to help patients get the care they need in a reasonable amount of time. One of those regulations is that patients shouldn’t have to wait more than 10 business days for a regular appointment with their health or mental health care provider.
Yet, Kaiser Permanente’s health maintenance organization in the state — rather than abide by the regulation — regularly made patients wanting mental health care wait longer than the 10 business days. In fact, in one case from 2010, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) fined Kaiser $75,000 for unreasonably delaying a child’s autism diagnosis for almost 11 months! The new report found that anywhere from 17 to 40 percent of patients waited longer than 14 days for an appointment.
Last week, the DMHC was again at Kaiser’s doorstep, finding that Kaiser kept two sets of appointment records to try and circumvent this regulation — a paper appointment calendar and an electronic health record calendar. The DMHC cited Kaiser for “serious” deficiencies in how it manages and provides mental health care services to its patients.
Kaiser Permanente is one of those enormous health care providers that seems to have lost the plot — providing reasonable and timely health care for its customers.