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Children’s Hospital Oakland RNs to Rally Wednesday, Protest Management Plans to Slash Healthcare Ben

Press Release Press Release, 8/17/10

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For Immediate Release
August 17, 2010

RNs Charge Hospital Wants to Force Employees to Pay Cost for Mismanagement that Undermines Patient Care

Registered nurses from Children's Hospital Oakland, joined by other hospital employees, will rally outside the facility Wednesday, Aug. 18 to protest management efforts to sharply reduce current healthcare coverage for nurses and their families. Children's has signaled that they also intend to demand cuts in health benefits for other hospital workers as well.

The nurses charge that hospital administrators are trying to penalize the RNs and other employees for extremely poor management decisions with sharp and unwarranted reductions in health coverage.

Such cuts would push Children's well below community standards for healthcare coverage offered by other Bay Area hospitals, driving RNs away from the hospital and reducing patient access to the hospital's most experienced nurses, warns the California Nurses Association.

When:    Wednesday, Aug. 18, 12 Noon - 1 p.m.
Where:   Outside Children's Hospital Oakland, 52nd St.
                at Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland

"If Children's Hospital Oakland cuts nurses' health benefits, many will choose to work elsewhere," said Martha Kuhl, RN, an oncology nurse at the facility. "Our patients deserve the best health care and so do we. As hard as these cost-shifting proposals will be for nurses, it will be even worse for other workers at the Hospital who are less able to afford these cuts."

Children's concession demands are proposed in bargaining for a new contract.  The hospital wants to dramatically increase costs for the existing health plans in an effort to steer everyone into a single substandard plan, the nurses say.
                                                                                      
"Children's has been badly mismanaged for years," said Kuhl. "It's disgraceful that the hospital executives would penalize the nurses and other employees by seeking to severely reduce health coverage for our families to pay for their own extremely poor management decisions."

Among the many failed hospital operating decisions, the nurses cited:

  • The struggling endeavors to build outpatient facilities in Modesto and Walnut Creek, spending millions in taxpayer bond money and draining facility resources;
  • The ill-conceived, losing, and expensive effort to push a parcel tax for the facility past the voters of Alameda County without community input;
  • The $1.2 million plus lifetime health benefits golden parachute given to ousted short-term CEO Frank Teidemann responsible for both the outpatient ventures and the parcel tax;
  • The lack of strategic planning for operations to respond to trends in healthcare and effectively manage available staff resources.
  • Failure to provide adequate training to nurses to meet the basic needs of patients.

"The only real option is for the hospital to develop a transparent plan with all public and private stakeholders to overcome these years of failure. Reducing health benefits for nurses will not benefit the hospital in the long run," Kuhl continued.

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