Press Release

Nurses to Rep. Pete Stark: “Keep Kaiser Hayward Pediatrics Open!”

For Immediate Release
July 22 2011

Town Hall—Saturday 9:00 a.m.

Registered nurses from throughout the Kaiser Permanente hospital chain will attend Rep. Pete Stark’s town hall meeting this Saturday in an effort to win his support to keep the pediatric unit open when the local facility moves from Hayward to San Leandro, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced today. If the unit does close, families will be forced on gridlocked freeways to get to Kaiser facilities with pediatric units in Santa Clara, Roseville, and Oakland.  
Kaiser announced plans to move its services in 2014 to a new facility in San Leandro, that would no longer house a pediatrics department. In California, many hospitals are building new facilities to comply with seismic safety requirements and using the construction as an opportunity to drop units and services that they no longer want to operate. Last year alone, Kaiser made over $1.9 billion in profits.

“By closing the pediatrics department, Kaiser is decreasing access to care for children in southern Alameda County,” said Kristine Richter, a pediatric registered nurse at Kaiser-Hayward for 35 years. “We provide critically needed specialty care for children with chronic seizures, and orthopedic surgeries that increase mobility for patients with special needs. Our pediatric nurses are an experienced and dedicated staff who have served our community’s children for decades.”   

What: Kaiser RNs Urge Rep. Pete Stark to Support Pediatric Services at Town Hall
When: Saturday, July 23, 2011, 9:00 a.m.
Where: Fremont Senior Center, 40086 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont, CA

“Rep. Stark, who is a member on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, surely understands the need to maintain a vital pediatric unit in this community,” said Deborah Burger, RN, CNA/NNU Co-President. “He recently commended the awarding of grant money to two local health centers for school-based health programs in San Leandro and Union City by stating that by “bringing prevention and wellness programs and appropriate care to kids at school –we are raising healthy, well-informed future adults.”

“Nothing is more stressful for a family than dealing with a sick child,” added Senator Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro). “Closing the pediatrics department will compound this stress by requiring families to travel further to visit their sick child, creating hardships on the family and possibly having a negative impact on the child’s recovery. I urge Kaiser Permanente to reconsider this decision.”
“Today at Kaiser Hayward, children from Hayward, Fremont, Union City, San Lorenzo, and Castro Valley with chronic illnesses are able to receive care close to their home,” said Assembly member Mary Hayashi. “By planning to eliminate the pediatric department, Kaiser would be decreasing access to patients.”
Decreasing health services, a declining economy are making our children sick:

Local health conditions nurses identified as linked to the economic decline and the decrease of health services in local communities include stress-induced heart ailments in younger people, and adult diseases now found in children which include pancreatitis due to high-fat diets linked to low incomes; a range of gastrointestinal disorders, such as colitis; increased obesity, mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders, in youth populations; and higher and more severe asthma rates and increased premature births.

In response to these trends, CNA/NNU has begun a national campaign, the Main Street Contract for the American People to address the erosion of living standards and protections for families and future generations. The Kaiser nurses will also be asking for Rep. Stark’s endorsement of the campaign.

CNA/NNU is also proposing a tax on Wall Street speculation, such as major trades on stocks, bonds, derivatives, and credit default swaps, that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars every year to help rebuild America. A bill is expected to be introduced soon.

The Main Street Contract calls for:

  • Equal access to quality, public education.
  • Guaranteed healthcare with a single standard of care.
  • A secure retirement with the ability to retire in dignity.
  • Good housing and protection from hunger.
  • A safe and healthy environment.
  • A just taxation system where corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.