California faults behavioral health access at Kaiser Permanente

The California Department of Managed Health Care has issued more criticism on Kaiser Permanente’s behavioral health access, as follow-up to a 2013 audit. The most glaring omission was that 22 percent of appointments in Kaiser’s Northern Region for mental health services did not occur in the regulatory timeframe. Nine percent were missed in the carrier’s Southern Region.

Although Kaiser has taken substantial steps to identify and monitor issues related to timely access to behavioral health services, significant and serious concerns remain. Kaiser’s actions have not been sufficient to ensure enrollees have consistent timely access to behavioral health services.  –Shelley Rouillard, Director, CA Department of Managed Health Care

While the report finds significantly-improved training to address data concerns, appointment requests, and wait times, the plan is still faulted for the following:

Deficiency 3: Although the Plan has made significant strides toward correcting deficiencies concerning its obligation to monitor and provide access to behavioral health services, the Department concludes that the Plan’s corrective actions have not sufficiently fixed the access-related problems identified.

Deficiency 4: Although the Plan implemented policies requiring internal review of printed and on-line health education materials prior to making those materials available to enrollees, the Department’s review revealed individual cases in which providers disseminated inaccurate and misleading health education information to enrollees regarding the scope of their coverage for behavioral health services.

You can read the full report here.