Kaiser Permanente agreed to pay a $4 million fine over claims that it did not provide adequate access to mental health care services for its patients.
The state's Department of Managed Health Care levied the fine last year, citing survey results that indicated patients had to wait excessively long periods between therapy appointments, and that they were effectively dissuaded from seeking individual treatment.
Kaiser had contested the fine, calling it “unwarranted and excessive.” The two parties were scheduled to give opening statements before an administrative law judge on Tuesday in Kaiser’s appeal, but Kaiser faxed a letter to the court Monday evening saying it will pay the full fine, and asked the judge to dismiss the case.
"It's an admission by Kaiser that it has knowingly violated California mental health laws and shortchanged its patients,” said Clement Papazian, a social worker at Kaiser's Oakland Medical Center. It’s “a vindication of what Kaiser mental health clinicians have been saying for years."