Printer Friendly

Kaiser Permanente clinicians to launch nation's largest ever mental health workers' strike Jan. 12.

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Dec. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, NUHW.org:

Kaiser Permanente's 2,600 California mental health clinicians - psychologists, therapists, and social workers represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers - will launch a statewide, week-long strike on Monday, January 12, to protest Kaiser's chronic failure to provide its members with timely, quality mental health care.

Despite huge profits - "nonprofit" Kaiser has made more than $14 billion since 2009, and this year's profits are up 40 percent over last year's record - Kaiser does not staff its psychiatry departments with enough clinicians to treat the ever-growing number of patients seeking care. Last year state regulators fined Kaiser $4 million for systemic understaffing that forces patients to endure lengthy waits for treatment, in violation of California law.

Since then, Kaiser has failed to correct the problems. Instead, Kaiser merely shifted resources, directing clinicians to see more first-time patients at the expense of returning patients. Patients frequently endure waits of four to twelve weeks, making effective, ongoing treatment nearly impossible.

"For patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and other debilitating mental conditions, these delays can be insurmountable obstacles," said Clement Papazian, a clinical social worker at Kaiser in Oakland, Calif. "Kaiser's actions are doing real harm."

And the situation is getting worse. Kaiser's California enrollment has increased by a quarter million members this year under the Affordable Care Act. Staffing levels, already too low, are not keeping pace with enrollment. Withholding services while increasing membership is an effective way to score record profits but it has led to woefully inadequate care, as well as four class-action lawsuits filed by patients and families who say Kaiser's violations contributed to tragic outcomes, including suicides.

In December, clinicians presented Kaiser with a commonsense solution: clinicianC management committees in each facility that can determine adequate staffing levels and outsourcing needs. It's a simple and effective solution already in place in other health care systems. But once again, Kaiser failed to act, triggering this statewide strike.

"With soaring profits and a $30 billion reserve, Kaiser needs to step up and lead the way in finally making mental health care a priority in this country," said NUHW President Sal Rosselli. "The law requires it and Kaiser's ethical obligations as a health care provider demand it."

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/kaiser-permanente-clinicians-to-launch-nations-largest-ever-mental-health-workers-strike-jan-12-300014959.html</a>

SOURCE National Union of Healthcare Workers

COPYRIGHT 2014 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2014 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Dec 31, 2014
Words:483
Previous Article:JPS Industries, Inc. (JPST) May Not Be Considering Potential Acquisition by Handy & Harman Ltd. (HNH) to the Detriment of Its Shareholders.
Next Article:Acquisition of Meadowbrook Insurance Group, Inc. (MIG) by Fosun International Limited (Hong Kong) May Not Be in Shareholders' Best Interests.
Topics:

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters