OAKLAND, Calif., July 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nurses will hold informational pickets at 7 Kaiser hospitals across California on Wednesday, July 20, to call attention to what they say is unsafe staffing and eroding standards of patient care, California Nurses Association (CNA) announced today.
"It's our job, as nurses, to advocate for our patients. So we're holding these pickets to let the public know about the serious issues we see every day within Kaiser's hospitals and clinics. Despite earning profits of $1.9 billion in 2015 and raising members' monthly premiums in 2016, Kaiser executives are refusing to honor their commitment to provide safe patient care," said Zenei Cortez, RN.
Picketing will take place on July 20 at the following locations and times:
Los Angeles Medical Center, 867 Sunset Blvd., 8 – 10am
Modesto Medical Center, 4601 Dale Road, 2 – 5pm
Oakland Medical Center, 3600 Broadway, 2 – 5pm
San Francisco Medical Center, 2425 Geary, 3:30 – 5:30pm
Santa Clara Medical Center, 710 Lawrence Expressway, 2 – 5pm
South Sacramento Medical Center, 6600 Bruceville Road, 2 – 5pm
Vallejo Medical Center, 975 Sereno Drive, 2 – 5pm
Key issues, according to nurses, include:
- Failure to improve staffing. Kaiser has failed to increase nursing staff to ensure that patients are not subject to unsafe conditions. As part of a 2014 agreement, Kaiser committed to hiring resource nurses at each of its hospitals —RNs who provide necessary support to bedside nurses. According to nurses, management has failed to follow through on that commitment even though Kaiser has amassed unprecedented membership growth and record-breaking profits.
"This is not just a broken promise to nurses; it's a broken promise to patients," said Cathy Kennedy, RN. "Resource nurses help with admissions and discharges, placing IVs, wound care, transporting patients—all the jobs that enable bedside nurses to give more focused care to patients. It's very concerning that Kaiser, a corporation which is earning such high profits off of healthcare, refuses to invest in staffing to safely care for its patients."
- Failure to train additional RNs. Kaiser has also committed to train at least 180 nurses per year to address chronic staffing shortages in specialty fields. According to nurses, Kaiser is over 100 nurses short in its training commitments.
"The nursing shortage is particularly bad in specialty areas like our Labor and Delivery Departments and the Intensive Care Units," said Amy Glass, RN. "Our patients deserve access to enough well-trained nurses, and Kaiser has not followed through on filling those chronically understaffed areas of our hospitals."
- Increased cost for patients, while failing to provide top-quality care. In 2016, Kaiser members across Northern California saw increases to their monthly premiums. Nurses say they are picketing to draw attention to a lack of investment back into safe patient care.
"We believe that Kaiser members should not be subject to increased premiums while Kaiser executives are reducing the quality of care our patients receive," said Katy Roemer, RN. "How can Kaiser continually fail to improve staffing and fail to ensure there are enough well-trained nurses in specialty areas—and yet charge patients more? It's not right."
- Failure to invest in Los Angeles Medical Center (LAMC). Kaiser promotes LAMC as one its Centers of Excellence. Yet everyday, LAMC nurses struggle because of Kaiser's failure to address ongoing staffing issues and place patients in the appropriate level of care.
"As a Kaiser LAMC nurse whose patients come from all over California, Oregon and Colorado, we call on Kaiser to immediately address our critical patient care concerns. We will not be silent while Kaiser executives profit off of our patients' premiums and yet do not address our concerns at the hospital," says Tessie Costless, RN.
CNA represents over 18,000 RNs and nurse practitioners at 87 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics across California. Kaiser is both the largest hospital chain and health insurance company in California.
SOURCE California Nurses Association