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A study of more than 300 California mental health providers found that many patients are not receiving care in a timely manner, which could spell bigger troubles for the rest of the country.

As USA Today reports, the survey found that many patients are forced to wait for mental health care far past the 10-day limit required by state law. The survey also found that more than half of clinicians polled said that their next available appointment was more than 10 business days away, and more than 65 percent said return appointments took longer than 10 days.

The report revealed that understaffing is a major problem in these facilities:

“Managers ask employees to ‘cook the books’ so it appears they meet a California law for an initial appointment within 10 days, that patients are funneled into group therapy because there are not enough clinicians for one-on-one care and that clinicians do not have time to perform basic assessments.”

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Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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