Kaiser cancels over a thousand appointments amid clinician strike

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A strike that started Monday involving 2,000 psychological well being clinicians at Kaiser Permanente services in Northern California has led to greater than a thousand canceled appointments for behavioral well being providers, in keeping with the union and system.

About 1,600 follow-up remedy appointments have been canceled to date this week, the well being system confirmed to Healthcare Dive in an e-mail on Wednesday.

Some sufferers have opted out of visits with different therapists if these they’d beforehand had appointments with are on strike and unavailable, the system mentioned.

Those that walked off the job embody psychologists, therapists, chemical dependency counselors and social staff who need measures in new contracts that enable for extra manageable caseloads, amongst different objects, in keeping with the Nationwide Union of Healthcare Staff, which represents these staff.

They are saying they’re stretched too skinny and unable to offer satisfactory care to sufferers with psychological well being circumstances, in keeping with the union.

Staff raised the alarm over canceled appointments previous to the strike, citing inner emails and communications in a grievance to state regulators filed Thursday.

Underneath California legislation, if well timed entry to psychological well being care service is unavailable from in-network suppliers, well being plans should organize for care to be offered out-of-network.

The system mentioned it’s presently reaching out to every affected person with impacted appointments and prioritizing pressing and emergent circumstances whereas the strike continues. It additionally famous that a number of hundred therapists didn’t find yourself strolling off the job, in keeping with the e-mail assertion.

The strike is open-ended, with no set finish date.

The California Division of Managed Well being Care, which regulates the system, issued a discover Monday that it’s monitoring entry to psychological well being providers for sufferers enrolled in Kaiser well being plans that may very well be impacted by the strike.

The staff and system have been in negotiations for over a yr and had been close to an settlement previous to the deliberate strike date. Though clinicians accepted a wage supply from Kaiser, they had been unable to get provisions round staffing and wait instances, in keeping with the union.

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