Informational Picket at San Jose Kaiser
San Jose Kaiser RNs’ Message to Public as ACA Exchange Rolls Out:
Be Wary of Insurers Who Limit Access to Hospital, Nursing Care
As many Californians weigh their options for healthcare insurance under the Affordable Care Act, registered nurses will rally outside the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center this Friday with a message for consumers: Be wary of enrolling in insurance plans that limit your access to a hospital and to safe nursing care.
What Informational picketing by Kaiser RNs
When: Friday, October 11, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center
250 Hospital Parkway, San Jose, CA
Kaiser has been making it harder for patients to be admitted for hospital care when sick or injured, sending patients home or to other settings when they should still be in the hospital, say RNs. As part of that shift away from hospital care, Kaiser has been reducing RN staffing in its hospitals.
“Our message to the public is if you are choosing an insurance plan under the new ACA health exchanges, insist that your insurance plan guarantees that you and your family are able to get the care you need, including full access to hospitalization and safe nursing care,” said Zenei Cortez, a Kaiser RN and co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. The ACA-established health exchanges opened for business and signups on Oct. 1. Kaiser Permanente Insurance is one of the participating companies and a lead architect of the ACA.
“I am very concerned about unsafe staffing at Kaiser and the impact on patient care,” said Assemblymember Mark Stone, who will join the informational picket. “If patients in our community need hospitalization, they should receive care with appropriate staffing levels.”
“I am passionate about my patients and their care,” said RN Julie Glage, who has worked at San Jose Kaiser for 11 years. “Our patients deserve to be admitted to the hospital in a timely manner, not held in the emergency department waiting for a bed to be staffed. Too often we see patients prematurely discharged only to return within a couple days.”
Since January 2013, RNs at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center have filed more than 300 reports of unsafe patient care. Kaiser has failed to seriously address these reports.
As both an insurance company and a hospital chain, Kaiser has increased its profits by reducing patient services, especially hospital care, while still receiving guaranteed monthly premiums from enrollees. Kaiser netted a profit of $2.6 billion in 2012 alone. The ACA, for which Kaiser is a leading industry model, accelerates this profit-making trend by providing financial incentives for providers to limit formal hospital admissions and deliver care in outpatient settings, such as clinics or doctors’ offices, or home care.