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Kaiser Permanente Ready Now for California Nurse Staffing Ratios.

Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers

PASADENA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 1, 2003

Kaiser Permanente is leading the way for California hospitals in adopting the nurse staffing ratios just finalized by the California Department of Health Services (DHS). The eleven Southern California Kaiser Permanente hospitals currently meet the state mandate of one nurse per six patients on medical surgical units. That standard will become mandatory for all state hospitals January 1, 2004.

In fact, several Kaiser Permanente hospitals have already achieved a more ambitious goal of one nurse per four patients in medical surgical units. That goal is part of our effort to be the best place to work for nurses. It also reflects the partnership agreement that Kaiser Permanente has with a coalition of labor unions. Two of those unions, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the United Nurses Association of California (UNAC), recommended the one to four ratio after conducting a survey of frontline nurses.

Over the past two years Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest not-for-profit health plan, has added more than 1,000 nurses to its health care team in California. This places Kaiser Permanente's nurse vacancy rate at one-half the statewide level, which helps us meet our objectives of better patient care. In addition, Kaiser Permanente is implementing several nurse retention programs along with initiatives to improve nurses' work environment, foster career growth and provide greater flexibility and balance between nurses' professional and personal lives.

Kaiser Permanente employs nearly 10 percent of the nurses in California, and is the only healthcare organization to voluntarily adopt nurse staff ratios in California. To move us toward improved nurse to patient ratios, Kaiser Permanente has doubled its recruitment budget, improved retention efforts by providing mentors for new nurses and expanded professional development opportunities for veteran nurses through its patient care services department.

Kaiser Permanente is a non-profit, prepaid, group practice health maintenance organization (HMO), founded in 1945. The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region has more than 3.1 million members. It includes 3,600 physicians in the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) and 46,000 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals and medical group employees. The Region is served by 11 major medical centers.

http://www.kaiserpermanente.org

Note to media representatives: Staff nurses are available to discuss the impact of ratios on patient care and on their personal job satisfaction. Experts from Kaiser Permanente and our labor management partnership are also available to discuss nurse staffing issues in California.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:412
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