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Kaiser Permanente Expands Behavioral Health Facilities

Kaiser Permanente in Northern California is investing over $500 million between 2016 and 2020 in refurbishing and adding new sites where behavioral health care is delivered. Pictured, inside the Elk Grove Mental Health and Wellness offices.

Glenda O’Sullivan, LMFT, has 3 pictures she always puts up in a new office.

They’re of sand dunes, clouds, and blue sky. They’re not just artwork; they’re tools to help her patients, who are adults grappling with anxiety, depression, and trauma.

“We use them in our sessions to reflect as we move from the anxious mind to the cognitive one,” said O’Sullivan.

Last November, those photos were unpacked and hung in the refurbished Elk Grove Mental Health and Wellness offices, a facility that O’Sullivan said is just as calm and healing as her pictures.

An Investment of Time and Money

In 2016 – 2018, Kaiser Permanente invested $150 million to complete 10 of 30 planned projects, adding 316 net new provider offices and 39 new group rooms. In 2019 – 2020, Kaiser Permanente will invest $319 million to complete the 20 remaining projects that will add 399 more net new provider officers and 77 net new group rooms, according to Kathy Weiner, managing director of Delivery System Strategy in Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

Each of the 14 Kaiser Permanente Northern California geographical service areas — from Fresno to Roseville, and all points in between — is adding significant capacity to better serve members through individual visits. (See the list of locations and dates at the end of this article.)

Mark Brna, executive director of Facilities Strategy Planning and Design, explained that therapists and managers helped develop the new design and finishes for all behavioral health facilities.

“An emphasis was placed on creating a relaxing environment, including the use of varied seating groupings, access to wireless technologies, and multiple means of registration, including self-registration at kiosks and more in-person greetings,” he said.

Brna added that the design focused on removing physical barriers between members and staff while bringing in an abundance of natural daylight and views in both offices and common areas.

“Our strategy for mental health and wellness developed by our clinical and operational leaders includes improved physical space, technology, and overall capability to support our members, patients, and the communities we serve in new and exciting ways,” said Kevin Hart, SVP of Strategic Development and Technology.

Hart added that expansion also includes a new clinical hub for Kaiser Permanente’s innovative Connect 2 Care Telepsychiatry Program, which is adding 23 new seats to the existing 18 seats to “expand our reach to serve more members with greater convenience and care.”

Accommodations That Make a Difference

For O’Sullivan, the new Elk Grove mental health and wellness facility has given her and her patients several upgrades. For one, the 16,000-square-foot space means therapists don’t need to share offices. They have their own.

She said that group rooms accommodate classes and therapy sessions of any size. Extra touches such as chairs comfortable for people of all sizes and water bottle filling stations leave her patients feeling welcomed and relaxed.

O’Sullivan said she’s especially pleased at her patients’ reactions.

“I’ve heard them say it doesn’t feel like a doctor’s office, but more like an upscale hotel. When we are asking them to be vulnerable and share things about themselves, these warm accommodations absolutely make a difference.”

As for her own response to the refreshed office, she said, “When you are in a good space, you provide good care.”

New Provider Offices: Opened 2016-2018
• Vallejo (2016)
• Sacramento – Howe Ave. (2017)
• Roseville (2017)
• Santa Rosa – Mercury Way (2017)
• Sacramento – G Street (2018)
• Walnut Creek (2018)
• Fresno (2018)
• Redwood City – San Mateo (2018)
• South San Francisco (2018)
• South Sacramento – Elk Grove (2018)

New Provider Offices: Opening 2019-2020 (target dates)
• Fairfield (2019)
• Fremont (2019)
• San Jose – Child Psychiatry (2019)
• San Leandro (2019)
• San Rafael – Petaluma (2019)
• Campbell (2019)
• Oakland – CDRP (2019)
• Santa Rosa – Round Barn (2019)
• Manteca – Tracy (2019)
• Santa Clara – North 1st St. (2019)
• San Leandro – Union City (2020)
• Oakland – Clay St. (2020)
• San Francisco (2020)

New Provider Offices: In Planning to Open in 2020 (target dates)
• Watsonville (2020)
• Scotts Valley (2020)
• Manteca (2020)
• Modesto (2020)
• Antioch (2020)
• Santa Clara (2020)
• Stockton (2020)