County Supervisors Call for Kaiser Permanente Not to Cut Patient Time for Mental Health Services

News Date

Supervisors Terra Lawson-Remer and Monica Montgomery Steppe today secured support for their resolution opposing Kaiser Permanente’s attempt to reduce the amount of time their mental health therapists spend with patients. 

The Supervisors are calling on Kaiser Permanente to provide parity as their counterparts in Northern California for up to seven hours of patient management time. This reduction threatens to impact patient mental health care for residents in San Diego County and could accelerate the trend of burnout in our healthcare workforce, resulting in more therapists departing and leaving patients waiting even longer to get the care they need. 

Supervisor Lawson-Remer in response to today’s vote said: “We’re standing on our principles as a County government that access to mental health services should be more readily available, not less. Our track record as County Supervisors has been to increase support, and when a major healthcare provider reduces its service levels, it is a serious cause for concern. It’s my hope that Kaiser reconsiders its decision, and does what is in the best interest of its patients and staff.” 

“Now more than ever, we must prioritize accessible, effective, and compassionate mental health services. Anything less is a disservice to those in need and a step backward in our collective efforts to address the behavioral health crisis gripping our communities,” said Supervisor Montgomery Steppe. “With this resolution, I hope that Kaiser does what is right so that individuals receive the comprehensive care and attention they deserve.”

The San Diego Workforce Partnership conducted a study a couple years ago and identified that by 2027 the region will need to recruit 18,500 behavioral health professionals to the field—more than the entire current workforce of 17,000. This is another reason to prevent the burnout of existing professionals. 

Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest providers of mental health care in the region. Additionally, more than 11,000 County of San Diego employees and their dependents received healthcare coverages from Kaiser Permanente.

To read the entire policy click here and to read the resolution click here