FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, 03 August 2015
CONTACT: Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 : brett@fitzgibbonmedia.com

Courage Campaign: “Justice for Barbara Ragan and All Those Hurt by Kaiser Permanente's Continued Failure to Provide Legally Mandated Mental Health Services”

Dr. Paul Song Reacts to The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat’s Report on Kaiser Permanente Employee Who Committed Suicide After Poor Care and Delays At Kaiser-Run Medical Center

On Saturday, August 1st, The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported on the case of Barbara Ragan, a retired Kaiser Permanente employee suffering from severe depression, who sought and was denied timely care at Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Rosa Medical Center.  In the midst of a mental health crisis, Ragan was informed that she would have to wait nearly two months for an appointment -- far beyond the State-mandated limit of ten days for non-urgent care and far in excess of the required 48-hour standard for urgent care.  Soon after, Barbara Ragan attempted suicide from the third story of Kaiser’s parking garage and eventually died, clutching her Kaiser Permanente member card. Her husband is certain she was making a statement about Kaiser’s mental health care: “To me, that’s a statement of what they’re doing out there, how they treat people.”

Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of the California-based Courage Campaign and practicing oncologist, issued the following statement, mourning Barbara Ragan’s death and calling on Kaiser Permanente to immediately stop blocking the required mental health services as required by law:

“Barbara Ragan’s suicide is an especially pointed and tragic example of Kaiser Permanente's continued refusal to provide basic, State-mandated mental health services in a timely manner.

Ragan, a loyal Kaiser Permanente employee for more than 16 years, was failed by her past employer and her mental health provider in way that should make all Kaiser Permanente executives feel ashamed.

Unfortunately, these stories are all too common.  Thousands of Californians -- from all walks of life -- have been failed by Kaiser Permanente’s continued refusal to adequately staff their mental health departments.  Despite more than $4 million in fines, countless complaints and clear violations of State law, wait times for mental health patients seeking treatment remain high and patients continue to suffer. 

The time has come for Kaiser to stop spending its time and money on rehabilitating its image, spreading lies, and demonizing victims and focus solely on meeting the mental health needs of its own patients. Lives are at risk!”

Earlier this year, the California-based Courage Campaign launched the microsite - www.TheRealKaiserPermanete.com - featuring stories from actual Kaiser mental health patients and caregivers in California who have been impacted by the insurance giant’s continuously inaqaduate mental health services.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/4257827-181/kaiser-permanente-faces-renewed-criticism?page=0

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

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