Kaiser nurses protest at First 5 meeting
Sacramento Business Journal, 7/26/13
Senior Staff Writer- Sacramento Business Journal
Registered nurses from Kaiser Permanente and other advocates showed up at a meeting of the First 5 California commission meeting in Sacramento Thursday to protest appointment of their boss to the group.
The protesters are members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. They showed up at the commission meeting to draw attention to Kaiser’s decision to close a pediatrics unit in Hayward and move patients to a new medical center in Oakland.
The Hayward hospital serves south Alameda County Kaiser members who have children with chronic medical problems that require frequent hospitalization. They deserve critical care in their own community, nurses say.
The union picked the commission meeting as a forum for protest because First 5 California’s mission is to oversee and support funding for education, health and child care programs for children ages 0 to 5 and their families.
This intent “runs counter to Mr. Halvorson’s policy decisions, which are creating great harm to our communities’ children,” said John Green, a Hayward parent of a child who uses the pediatric unit, in a news release.
Camille Maben, executive director of the commission, was flummoxed by the choice to protest there.
“This really doesn’t have anything to do with the commission or our business, so we’ll just go ahead with the meeting,” Maben said Thursday morning.
Kaiser senior vice president Tom Hanenburg for the Hayward and Fremont areas said the company is expanding access to health care and increasing the level of services provided — not cutting them.
The Hayward hospital is old, needs seismic improvement and will be closed. It currently serves fewer than four pediatric patients a day. New medical centers will open in San Leandro and Oakland next year. The Oakland hospital will have up to 35 beds for children and an expanded 12-bed pediatric intensive care unit, Hanenburg said in a statement.
The Hayward closure and Oakland opening will affect inpatient pediatric nurses in Hayward, but they will have an opportunity to keep their jobs, he added.
Kathy Robertson covers health care, law and lobbying, labor, workplace issues and immigration for the Sacramento Business Journal.Back to News »