Thousands of Kaiser Customers to CEO: "Stop Putting Mental Health Patients Lives At Risk"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, 13 January 2015

CONTACT:
Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 : brett@fitzgibbonmedia.com

Thousands of Kaiser Customers to CEO: “Stop Putting Mental Health Patients Lives at Risk”

More than 12,000 Sign Petition Urging Kaiser Permanente to Immediately Reduce Wait Times for Mental Health Patients Seeking Treatment

CALIFORNIA -- More than 12,000 people, including nearly 5,000 Kaiser customers, have personally emailed Kaiser executives by signing onto a new petition from the California-based Courage Campaign urging the company to stop putting mental health patients lives at risk and immediately reduce wait times for those seeking critical treatment.  The petition stands in solidarity with the nearly 3,000 mental health clinicians from Kaiser Permanente -- represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers -- who went on strike yesterday to protest the chronic mental healthcare failures of the health insurance giant.

VIEW THE PETITION HERE: http://act.couragecampaign.org/sign/KaiserStrike_NUHW/

Kaiser Permanente, California’s largest health insurer has admitted wrongdoings in the past -- paying a near record-breaking fine of $4,000,000 for willfully putting the lives of thousands of mental health patients at risk by not providing timely care, forcing patients with serious mental health illnesses to wait weeks or even months for urgent care.  Sill, the insurance giant -- who made $3 billion alone last year -- has refused to staff its mental health departments with enough clinicians to handle the ever-rising caseload.

“Kaiser Permanente executives are getting rich while keeping mental health patients waiting, some patients are even dying because of it. Kaiser donated more than $20 million to defeat Proposition 45 this past fall, allowing it to continue to raise premiums with impunity, but it refuses to provide its own members with the care they need. It’s truly sickening how this so-called ‘non-profit’ health giant continues to put profits before patients, despite fines and numerous pleas from the families of suicide victims. California patients continue to suffer for Kaiser’s bottomline,” explained Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of Courage Campaign and practicing oncologist.  “Plain and simple, health insurance giants like Kaiser are responsible for decreasing services and jacking-up premiums, and people all over the State are waking up to it.  Kaiser needs to come back to the table and join common-sense proposals -- like clinician-management committees to work together with mental health workers to determine facility staffing needs -- and provide all Californians with the coverage they deserve and pay for.”

For more information or for interviews with Courage Campaign, please contact Brett Abrams at 516-841-1105 or by email at brett@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

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