ADHD Evaluation and Treatment at Kaiser

Parent Q&A

  • ADHD evaluation with Kaiser

    (9 replies)

    We'd like to get our 10 year old evaluated for ADHD. We have Kaiser, and we're told the wait to start the process is 2 months; we have an initial group appointment at the end of March. We were hoping to get a diagnosis then use that to get an IEP/504 this school year, but that's unlikely if the wait to get started is that long. So we were wondering if we'd be able to get a medical/psych evaluation out of pocket earlier. Has anyone gone that route? Any recommendations on who to see? We live in the Castro Valley area if it makes a difference. Thanks!

    RE: ADHD evaluation with Kaiser ()

    Please don’t let Kaiser off the hook in any event. File a grievance with the Plan and if that doesn’t expedite an appointment, file a grievance with the Dept of Managed Health Care. Kaiser is obligated by law to provide behavioral health appts in a timely manner and they continue to shirk despite having been assessed multimillion dollar penalties. They pay the penalty yet patients continue to get the runaround. See their settlement agreement with the DMHC:,2017.aspx

    It states: If a consumer is experiencing difficulty accessing care they should file a grievance with their health plan. If they are not satisfied with their health plan’s resolution of the grievance or have been in their plan’s grievance system for 30 days, they should contact the DMHC Help Center for assistance by calling 1-888-466-2219 or at If they are experiencing an imminent or serious threat to their health, they should contact the DMHC Help Center immediately.

    —Also, if Kaiser fails to provide your son timely, necessary care, you may be able to get Kaiser to pay or reimburse for out-of-network care. 

    RE: ADHD evaluation with Kaiser ()

    Since you mention IEP/504, it sounds like you are in a public school system.  If so, you should request an evaluation through your school.  The sooner the better so that it can be completed before the end of this school year.  Check out for more information.

    RE: ADHD evaluation with Kaiser ()

    Hi. I'm a retired school psychologist, and I wanted to make sure you know that you can request a 504/IEP evaluation before you have a medical diagnosis. It can help but a Dx is not required to qualify for those accommodations/services if the school evaluation shows an educational impact. Since the school assessment also takes time, you might want to make that request and let them know you are also pursuing an outside diagnosis concurrently. They will have 15 days to reply to your request, and after you sign permission for the evaluation, it must be completed within 60 days (not including summer vacation). It may get you farther along the process a little quicker. Good luck!

Parent Reviews

RE: Seeking Neuropsych evaluation ()

We just completed the ADHD evaluation process at Kaiser, from the time we self-referred to when we get the results in 2 weeks it will have just been 2.5 months.  Because our daughter had a concussion over a year ago we are working with a neuro psychiatrist.  The wait times you mention I imagine are just to get the first intake appointment and exclude time to gather evaluations from teachers, etc. and write up the report. Might be quicker to switch to Kaiser if you can and go through them versus waiting that long.

Regarding the therapy versus eval, at the one parent group I attended, the facilitator when asked about the need for medication said that ADHD lives in the prefrontal cortex, so therapy alone won't fix that. The therapy can help with anxiety tools, but in our case with a daughter that most likely has the inattentiveness type, months of therapy have done little help with her emotional regulation issues, especially at night. When she has an emotional response out of proportion to the whatever set her off, it can go on for over an hour and the techniques we were taught in therapy before realizing she probably has ADHD do little to stop that sot of irrational looping/spiraling. 

One thing I recommend is to get your child tested convergence insufficiency, a functional vision disorder that can't be detected via a standard vision exam. It's something we never considered because our child loves to read and has tested as above average in reading. Many of the symptoms are the same as ADHD. While kids can have both ADHD and CI, some kids can have just CI. We got an initial diagnosis after a 1.5 hour exam at UC Berkeley's School of Optometry. Here's a link to more info on the link with vision and ADHD:

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Feb 2006

I have read most of the posts and recommendations for pediatric psychiatrists and evaluators for ADD. It looks like most of the psychiatrists and evaluators for ADD are private - out of pocket pay (not under HMO's or insurance) AND they are expensive and they have long waiting lists. The HMO's and MD's covered by insurances tend to have to whip through diagnosing and testing and may miss a lot of significant information.

My question is this: Once you have seen a private physician and if his diagnosis seems correct and his recommended treatment - whether it is medication or not, is indeed helping the child - do you have any problems taking this diagnosis from the private physician to you child's primary care physician or a doctor within your HMO or insurance and saying - look here's what this MD did and this is what he prescribed and it works, we want to continue it. Or do they now send you again through their merry-go-round of lightning speed testing and make you live with their diagnosis or continue to pay high out of pocket fees to the private physician? cindy

I think Kaiser does a nice job of handling ADHD once you find a primary care pediatrician who specializes in the medications. There's usually one pediatrician at each facility who sees the ADD kids and knows about the meds. I don't see why they'd want to re-diagnose your child. If you come in with diabetes they don't do that. I have Kaiser and an EPO plan and we go to non-Kaiser doctors for the rare diseases we seem to have in our family but we use Kaiser for all our ADHD needs with great success. good luck

Bothered by ADD evaluation at Kaiser

April 2005

My eight-year-old son is a very enthusiastic student and tries hard in school but has been struggling with reading since 1st grade (he is in 2nd grade) so it was suggested that he be assessed by the district and evaluated for ADHD.

For the ADD evaluation, we went to Richmond Kaiser and during the 3-hour process, we filled out reams of paperwork, then sat in a room full of parents and heard a lecture from the head of behavioral psychiatry while our son was observed in a room with 12 kids of different ages (all of whom were being evaluated for behavioral problems). The psychiatrist told all the parents that the only treatment option for ADD is drugs and Ritalin has no side effects which I found hard to believe.

Directly after, we reconvened in a psychologist\x92s office with my son. It was awkward to discuss why we were doing the evaluation while he was in the room but we did our best. At one point, my spouse mentioned that our son\x92s gymnastics teacher said he doesn\x92t always follow instructions in his class and he had to give him a few ''time outs''. It was the only example we could think of behavior that might be different from his peers. Otherwise, he is an active little boy who is happy and mostly well-behaved. From preschool through second grade, teachers have said good things about his behavior.

My son told me later that during the group session one little girl got up and was turning the lights off and on, then a few kids started yelling: \x93we\x92re prisoners, we\x92re trapped here, let us out\x94. He admitted that he did some yelling too. He wouldn't say much about it beyond that.

After the appointment, we and his teachers completed evaluation forms about his behavior. A few weeks later, the psychologist left a phone message that he was negative for ADD/ADHD. However, she had observed some defiant/oppositional behavior. She offered us space in an Oppositional Defiant Disorder Workshop. At that point I was feeling so demoralized, I didn't bother calling back. I have since had a subsequent conversation with her and clarified that there will be a note in his medical record that she observed ''oppositional'' behavior in groups. It's not a diagnosis, just an observation and was supported by what my spouse had said about the gymnastics class. I thought about defending my son, explaining that it had been a bad day and his rowdy behavior was out of character but it seemed pointless.

I am still frustrated by the whole experience and feel like he got a raw deal. Have other parents who have been through an evaluation at Kaiser experienced something similar? frustrated mom

My son has ADD and is being treated for it by Kaiser. I would ask for a referral to a child psychologist or psychiatrist at Kaiser and try to pin down what the problem is. We had a very good experience working with these professionals at kaiser for our son's ADHD. If they think it's not ADD, there is a pretty good chance it isn't, so do follow up.

There is a very popular ADHD class at Kaiser Richmond taught by Rona Renner - see BPN reviews for more info.

2003 & Earlier