Kaiser Permanente is working to become the leader in providing mental health care for our members and patients, and ultimately provide a model for the delivery of mental health care in the community. We aim to define the vision of 21st century mental health care with a high-quality community of providers, emerging technologies that make it easy and convenient for members to connect, and evidence-based care with outcomes measured so we know it is working, and that patients are being helped.
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We are proud that the mental health care we provide is among the highest rated not only in California, but in the country as a whole. Multiple independent rating bodies — from government agencies, to the nation’s premier care quality organizations, to employer groups that purchase care and coverage for their employees — have surveyed our care and found Kaiser Permanente to provide among the highest quality care available.
Even with these high marks, we are neither content with where we are, nor where mental health care is in America as a whole. We believe strongly that more can and must be done. So, we are working hard to continue improving quality and access to care, while also working to fundamentally advance the ways in which mental health care is provided — and measured — for patients in the future.
Improving Mental Health Care Now and in the Future
Kaiser Permanente is inviting people across the country to help reduce the stigma around depression and engage in a conversation that the nation needs in order to better understand and address mental and behavioral health issues. Visit FindYourWords.org to learn more.
Independent Reviews Affirm Top-Rated Mental Health Care
Kaiser Permanente’s Northern and Southern California ratings for behavioral and mental health care are among the highest in the state, according to the California Office of the Patient Advocate’s 2015-2016 report card. Kaiser Permanente Northern California also scored three stars — higher than any other HMO in the state — in the “Getting Care Easily” category.
Improving Access to Mental Health Care
As an integrated, non-profit health care system and the largest mental health care provider in California, Kaiser Permanente is well-positioned to meet the needs of the growing population of Americans in need of mental health care. More »
With the number of Americans seeking mental health care, also known as behavioral health care, steadily rising, our nation is at risk of not having enough clinicians to meet patients’ needs. Kaiser Permanente is making sure our patients have access to the mental health care they need, when and where they need it.
Based on a comprehensive assessment in California, we are working to make changes, including:
- offering more individual appointments
- expanding hours and days of operation
- making it easier for patients to self-select or change therapists
- improving the physical environment in which members receive services
- focusing on assessing patient’s progress and rate of improvement at every visit
- centralizing our recruiting strategy to enable more rapid hiring process
Today, we can measure cardiac care or cancer care results. We can tell whether a patient improved, the quality of the care provided and a host of other concrete outcomes. But that level of measurable outcome is not yet possible for mental health treatment. Kaiser Permanente is working to change this. When we can measure with some precision mental health care outcomes, we can determine the best care with greater accuracy, not just at Kaiser Permanente but at care providers across the country. Developing better ways to measure performance is a critical need, and one of our top priorities.
We have convened a multidisciplinary group of leaders to envision and develop an integrated mental health model that brings together the best available clinical evidence and takes advantage of all supportive resources available to patients. We are also participating in a 12-month Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Collaborative to Optimize Primary Care Teams to Meet Patients’ Medical and Behavioral Needs. This initiative is designed by IHI to create the next generation of high performing primary care teams to address patients’ medical and mental health conditions and treat the whole person.
We are also working to partner with and learn from patient advocacy groups, and from our patients themselves, to listen to their experiences, and put that to use in designing better care in the future.