Kaiser’s Department of “We Don’t Do That!”

Blog for Mental Health 2015

 

The latest episode in my ongoing resistance to Kaiser’s efforts to snuff me out with lethal neglect comes courtesy of my stupid belief that Kaiser would actually give me basic psychiatric services without a struggle.

To understand my anger I should explain that I use words for clarity, not obfuscation; therefore,  when I use the words Case Manager I have the following definitions in mind.

“A case manager helps you complete paperwork and get to appointments. Your case manager may meet with you at the mental health agency, in-patient facility, your home, or another community setting. Case management is usually covered by Medicaid or state funding.

Children’s case management is a similar service that works with parents and caregivers to support healthy growth and development for children.”

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

Or

“Case managers help patients live as independently as possible by helping them apply for social services, advocating for them with public organizations, finding accommodations in supportive housing facilities and assisting them with paperwork. They may perform other duties as needed, and are often responsible for handling administrative tasks such as maintaining case files and other documentation.”

The Houston Chronicle

Every year in May, I must fill out and turn in paperwork for additional co-pay coverage.

I have deficits in memory and concentration and I usually need help with forms.

For the past three years, my case managers have filled out the forms with me and for me.

This year I decided that I wanted to do it on my own.

I called my “case manger” in April and said that if I needed his help I would call him.

Of course, I lost time and forgot.

I am constantly bumping into the wall of my denial and limitations.

I don’t blame the case manager for my lack of insight.

However, when patients with memory deficits fail to follow through on an important agreement that’s a clue that something is wrong.

I finally called the case manager at the urging of my therapist and left a message. I explained that I had lost time and that I felt too ashamed to call him earlier.

A few days later, I received a voice mail from him.

He said that he was going on vacation for two weeks.

He gave me the name of another case manager who would give me some forms to sign. His message was clear that she would process the papers while he was away.

I arrive at Kaiser’s Department of Psychiatry and at first, no one knows anything about it.

Then a receptionist calls the case manager whose name I mentioned and I was told to wait, she was on an important call.

When she finally emerged from the staff area, I overheard her tell a colleague that she had been on the phone for thirty minutes trying to get tickets to an A’s game.

She met briefly with another client, then looked for me to tell me she didn’t handle the letter G—that someone else does.

I waited for another thirty minutes and another woman found me and dumped the paperwork in my lap with the statement: “We don’t do this?”

Me: “You don’t do case management?”

She: We don’t do this. Maybe a family member can help you.

Me: (I’d had enough) Look. Everyone knows that Kaiser doesn’t want to work with the mentally ill.

She: That’s not true!

Me: I’m not an idiot. If you don’t do case management and you don’t do family therapy, and you don’t do intensive groups for trauma then by logical extension, you don’t do psychiatry. If I could do this alone or with family, I would have!

She walked over to reception, and then returned.

She: Why don’t you sign the forms and leave them at the front desk; your regular case manager will call you when he returns from vacation.

A couple of guards arrived in reception and glared at me.

I took the forms, signed them, and turned them over to reception under the menacing watch of the guards. I realized that these guys would hurt me badly to protect the staff of Kaiser’s department of ‘We Don’t Do That’ from angry patients.

I have never seen the degree of contempt for people with mental illnesses that I have seen at Kaiser’s Department of Psychiatry.

Whether it’s a call tree that repeatedly disconnects patients or the patronizing lies of the staff, I sense that psychiatric patients must “understand” that we will always be sacrificed for profit.

My experience of Kaiser’s department of psychiatry is one of pressuring its mental health patients to accept second-class status in the Kaiser system or leave.

How can it be otherwise, when according to The National Union of Healthcare Workers, “Kaiser’s failures are systematic and often purposeful? ”

“Indeed, the scope and specifics of these failures are sufficiently grave as to merit investigation by state and federal authorities as well as actions for recovery of funds by public and private payers, including individual Kaiser members.” Care Delayed, Care Denied: Executive Summary

Kaiser makes access to care difficult in order to force patients who need comprehensive psychiatric services either to leave the plan or to pay for outside services on their own.

My advice to Kaiser is stop bullshitting your patients.

Some of us know that you hate us.

Some of us know that you want us to leave.

Some of us also know that whatever it is you think you’re doing, it isn’t professional and it isn’t psychiatry.

However, the law says that you must give a reasonable public accommodation to patients with disabilities.

Since my request for help is also a request for reasonable public accommodation and since the action requested is a traditional function of psychiatric case management, Kaiser’s refusal to aid me is unreasonable and is in violation of State and Federal Law.

RG 2015

mhwgmember2015

19 thoughts on “Kaiser’s Department of “We Don’t Do That!”

  1. Robert, what a sad story. I can relate. Recently I shared a story on my blog about my first attempt to access services from an organization that seems similar to Kaiser. Since then, I returned twice for “therapy”. It is not a place that is likely to support my wellness. I am filing a formal complaint. It is one episode of my quest for affordable health care for all. I hope that I will publish a series of articles about my experience, to help others navigate the system, and bring attention to the disfunction so it might evolve into a system that supports wellness.

    I send my best wishes as you do what you need to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and responding. I think that one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is that the preservation of the quality of our lives is entirely up to us. We can suck up media lies and comfort ourselves with the deception that if we keep our mouths shut we will be safe. The truth is that we will me mercilessly exploited, especially when
      we’ve unleashed the absolute worst elements of capitalism. In a world populated by people who are taught to think in black and white it never occurs to people that no economic system is wholly good or bad. Capitalism did not end the cold war. Democracy did. Placing profit above the health and well being of the people of our nation has already cost us our credibility as a champion of human rights. Without our focus on human rights we’re just another evil empire. The only system worse than unbridled totalitarianism is unbridled capitalism.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert,

    Well said; I empathize, a lot, as I, too, have been in battle with Kaiser for some time to obtain proper treatment. I don’t even bother trying to access their psych treatment for my PTSD, because i have enough trouble just getting them to provide me with the treatments I need for physical issues.

    Your experience is all-too typical, and I’m glad to see someone else not afraid to tell them when what they’re doing is illegal and unethical….

    Far too many of Kaiser’s employee’s have become bureaucrats more than health care workers, with all their initial compassion having become complacency and bigotry, with an Us/Them attitude from the start of any interaction… They resent having to work at all, so try to do as little as possible, beginning with refusing to take responsibility for anything… The attitude is rampant, from executives, to doctors, to every part of the organization, including the nursing and office staff…. They are institutionalized into zombies, unable to do anything against almighty POLICY….

    Kaiser, the corporate entity, doesn’t care, as long as the profit margin, already outrageous, is maintained… Psychiatry isn’t one of the more profitable lines for them, so, they discourage its access… a natural result of not giving a shit about people, other than as a source of income….

    Hmph… sorry, got me going. It happens a lot….

    Good luck with your battles….

    gigoid, the dubious

    😎

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I recommend that you and everyone else who has had this experience with Kaiser contact the department of managed care.

      They have no right to market themselves as healers if that isn’t their intention. Let them market themselves for what they are: medical sell outs for an arrogant wannabe aristocracy that uses denial of resources to slowly murder the people they consider “losers”. Thank you for reading the post and leaving a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, and I’ll second that recommendation for anyone else in their clutches… I am in contact with them, as well as Medicare, and Cal Pers, the California State Public Employees Retirement System, who can cut off their money… Of course, you must remember, all those agencies, Managed Care included, are also bureaucracies, and their agenda doesn’t always match ours…

        gigoid

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know. In fact, I think the DMC colludes with them. It certainly allows Kaiser to stack the statistics by only evaluating it’s performance in the treatment of substance abuse. Kaiser does not treat people with chronic and serious mental illnesses. By merging behavioral health care and psychiatric services, Kaiser is able to hide it’s discrimination against the mentally ill with deceptive statistics that have absolutely nothing to do with the provision of psychiatric services. Most people don’t know that behavioral health care is not psychiatry and has only limited efficacy.

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    1. Institutional stigma is outrageous. People will do what they think they can get away with–HMO’s have been sending unprofitable patients to die on the streets for a generation. The question is not what’s wrong with Kaiser, the question is why Americans accept the premise that some of them must die for the greater profit of the already wealthy.

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      1. Yep. Darn it. I know I saw it. Several years ago there was a tv show about the elite. They have this attuide that they have a right to tell whatever what to do. Two people I remember. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep. It’s rooted in Feudalism and the ancient belief in a God of vengeance who rewards the righteous with wealth.

        These are the myths we told ourselves to explain and to justify hoarding and the class system.

        Democracy is a product of the rational mind…It is an abstraction and a better survival strategy for life in a complex and advanced civilization. Feudalism is instinctive.

        The two systems are in conflict and will remain in conflict until the feudal instinct is extinguished. Or until we destroy ourselves with lies and greed.

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