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California Regulators Cite Kaiser Permanente For Mental Health Lapses

— State regulators say Kaiser Permanente has mismanaged its mental health services. The reprimand comes after years of complaints from Kaiser therapists.

In a new report, California regulators say Kasier Permanente has been giving short shrift to mental-health care.

In its report, the California Department of Managed Health Care found a number of deficiencies.

For example, the agency says Kaiser gave false information to patients, saying individual counseling sessions wouldn't be covered. Kaiser also made patients wait too long between appointments.

Kaiser admits it's had some problems, and says it's making a number of improvements. For instance, Kaiser just added six more therapists to one of its facilities in Santa Rosa.

Jim Clifford, a Kaiser therapist in Otay Mesa, said it's about time management faced the music.

"We're glad that we've finally been able to break through the denial on the part of senior leadership, and focus attention on this very serious problem," Clifford said. "We're very concerned about our patients. Some of them struggle with bipolar disorder, severe depression, and anxiety."

State regulators say depending on their follow-up investigation, they may fine Kaiser and order specific changes.

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