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New BART Ads Slam Kaiser Permanente Over Longstanding Failure to Provide Legally-Mandated Mental Health Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, 16 June 2015
CONTACT: Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 :

New BART Ads Slam Kaiser Permanente Over Longstanding Failure to Provide Legally-Mandated Mental Health Services

Delays, Denials, Deaths – – Real Stories from Real People

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — Starting on Tuesday, June 16 and running through the month, a new ad campaign inside BART trains throughout the Bay Area will draw attention to Kaiser Permanente’s failure to provide legally-mandated mental health services. State regulators have repeatedly reprimanded Kaiser for these failures, including a $4,000,000 fine in 2013.



The ads, paid for by the California-based Courage Campaign Institute, invite commuters to visit the website to read first-person testimonials from actual Kaiser mental health patients in California, and their families and caregivers, offering detailed accounts of their experiences with Kaiser’s inadequate mental health services and the damage experienced by themselves or their loved ones. The public is invited to contribute additional testimonials based on their own experiences.


Kaiser Permanente, California’s largest health insurer has admitted wrongdoings in the past — paying a near record-breaking fine of $4,000,000 for putting the lives of thousands of mental health patients at risk by not providing timely care, and forcing patients with serious mental health illnesses to wait weeks or even months for urgent care.  Still, 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. 

“As Kaiser Permanente continues to sit on over $21.7 billion in cash reserves — 1600 times more than what our state regulations require — it fails to provide the legally-mandated mental health resources desperately needed by so many of its members. Despite fines from regulators and numerous pleas from families of suicide victims, California patients continue to suffer for the benefit of Kaiser’s bottomline,” explained Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of Courage Campaign and a practicing oncologist.

“While Kaiser had no problems spending $20 million to spread misinformation and defeat Proposition 45 this past fall, allowing it to raise insurance premiums with impunity, it refuses to make similar investments to prevent future mental health related deaths of its members. Plain and simple, health insurance giants like Kaiser are responsible for decreasing services and jacking-up premiums, and people all over California are waking up to it. Kaiser needs to adopt 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.”

Earlier this year, nearly 16,000 people, including nearly 5,000 Kaiser members, signed onto a petition calling on Kaiser Permanente’s CEO Bernard Tyson to “stop putting profits before patients and provide quality mental health care for your members who need timely treatment.” 


Courage Campaign backs common sense proposals — like the one submitted by the National Union of Health Workers (NUHW) proposals for clinician-management committees to work together to reduce wait times for mental health patients seeking treatment and determine each facility’s staffing needs.

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

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Angela Chavez