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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Kaiser’s Psych Care Pushed Patients to Sue

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - The Kaiser Foundation Health Plan fails to treat serious mental illness on par with treatment for physical illness, a class claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Charles Dion, on behalf of Kaiser plan members who use mental health services, sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., in Alameda County Superior Court.

Dion is a 25-year-old man with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), who requested individual cognitive behavioral therapy in October of 2013, according to the complaint.

It continues, "specifically, his request was for Exposure and Response Prevention therapy, a type of psychotherapy for the treatment of his OCD. On November 6, 2013, he met with Timothy Brown PhD, a Kaiser psychologist. Dr. Brown advised Mr. Dion that Kaiser does not offer the individualized psychotherapy treatment for patients with OCD. He stated that other than medication, the only treatment that Kaiser offered for OCD was group therapy classes -- which Dr. Brown ran. Dr. Brown acknowledged that Mr. Dion has severe OCD and that group therapy once a week would be insufficient. He stated that he might be able to refer Mr. Dion to a non-Kaiser anxiety clinic. That clinic is nearly 100 miles away from Mr. Dion's home.

Because he could not receive the individual therapy within Kaiser, Dion began treatment outside of Kaiser with a non-Kaiser therapist, and filed a grievance with Kaiser on November 19, 2013. On December 31, 2013, Dion received a letter from Kaiser that stated that it would pay for his ctUTent Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (''ERP") but only as a "one time courtesy" and only through January 31, 2014. Kaiser refuses to provide Dion with individualized and consistent psychotherapy despite his severe mental illness and need.

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