What Is the Credentialing Process for Kaiser Psychotherapists?
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Kaiser Permanente is a large health care provider and health management organization-style insurance company. Kaiser-approved providers aren't just covered by insurance; they're employees of the HMP. Consequently, applying to become a Kaiser psychotherapist is not like joining a provider panel for other insurance companies. Instead you must apply directly for a job with the HMO.
State Licensing Requirements
Like all insurance companies, Kaiser requires that its psychotherapists meet licensing requirements to work in the state in which they practice. State licensing requirements vary slightly, but generally require a licensing fee, registration with a state board, continuing education classes and a minimum of a master's degree. You may also be required to take a knowledge or competence test. If your license lapses, you won't be qualified to practice as a psychotherapist with Kaiser or at all.
Becoming a provider with Kaiser means becoming an employee, not a member of a provider panel. Begin by filling out an application on the HMO's website. You'll have to provide a resume, information about your license and a list of previous experience. Your application should highlight experience relevant to the specific position for which you are applying. For example, if you're applying to become an addiction counselor and are currently a therapist in private practice, highlight your experience treating addicts as well as any additional training you have in addiction treatment.
Interview and Other Criteria
If your application meets Kaiser's standards and if there is an open position at a Kaiser center in your area, you'll be called in for at least one interview. You may also be required to submit copies of your license, your school transcripts and similar data. If you pass this screening process, Kaiser will give you an offer outlining your job duties, pay and benefits. Because the HMO hires providers based on local needs, if you're willing to relocate you may have a better chance at landing an interview.
With Kaiser, as with any other insurance provider, you'll have to submit claims on behalf of your patients. You'll be required to submit claim forms directly to Kaiser, and can only submit claims that meet Kaiser's criteria. For example, you can't diagnose a client with depression unless she meets Kaiser-approved criteria, and medical providers who are authorized to write prescriptions must only do so for patients who meet Kaiser's criteria.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.