Press Release

Thursday- Seniors Host Lemonade Stand in Fight to Restore Critical Services at Kaiser Manteca

Community questions need for cuts when HMO reports $12 million a day in profits in 2014 first quarter
MANTECA— Seniors from the Manteca area will be selling lemonade in front of Kaiser Permanente Manteca Thursday at 11:00 a.m. to protest the escalation of cuts in patient care services at the facility, the California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United announced today.

“We have paid a lifetime of premiums to Kaiser and for them to abandon us as we get older and need hospital care is appalling,” said Rich Paul, a local resident.  “Many of us chose to retire in Manteca and bought homes in this area because there was a full-service hospital here. Kaiser charges us thousands of dollars a year in premiums and they want more. So we’re selling lemonade to help restore services.”

Local residents are questioning the need to cut services, putting the community at risk at a time when the HMO giant reported more than $1.1 billion in profits for the first quarter of 2014, $2.7 billion in 2013, and holds $21.7 billion in excessive reserves.

What      Seniors Host Lemonade Stand in Campaign to Save Kaiser Manteca
When:    Thursday, May 15, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where:   Kaiser Manteca, 1777 W Yosemite Ave. Manteca, CA

“If Kaiser refuses to reopen critical hospital services here in Manteca, it could be the difference between life and death for our seniors,” said Amy Glass, an RN who works at the facility. “Many of our elderly patients are unable to travel to another county for hospital services.  This is wrong, especially when Kaiser could provide the services here in Manteca.”
The elimination of services at Kaiser Manteca began January of 2013, which has created significant delays in patient care compounded by transportation difficulties. Some of the core services previously available at the Manteca hospital that Kaiser eliminated are cardiology, rehabilitation, ultrasound, as well as an entire general medical-surgical hospital floor.

The lemonade stand fundraiser follows several other protests by local seniors and registered nurses including a Valentine’s Day candlelight vigil, town hall forums, and a November march and rally outside of Kaiser’s headquarters in Oakland. A delegation of seniors, who traveled from Manteca accompanied by RNs represented by the California Nurses Association, met with Kaiser’s top executives. After executives promised only to assess the situation, not restore services, seniors pledged to continue to push for the services to which they are entitled.

The seniors are calling on Kaiser to reopen the hospital’s third floor to admit patients from the emergency department or following surgery, and to stop denying admission to patients in need of longer-term recovery services in the second floor subacute unit. They are also calling on Kaiser to bring back critical diagnostic services eliminated last year.

The withdrawal of services at Kaiser Manteca is part of the HMO’s new model of care. At a time when the HMO has gained many new members under the Affordable Care Act, including many of the 1,100 new residents moving into the neighborhoods near the Kaiser hospital in Manteca, its new model of care is making it more difficult for patients to be admitted. The ACA, for which Kaiser is a leading industry model, accelerates this trend by providing financial incentives for providers to limit formal hospital admissions and inpatient services.

Kaiser Manteca service cuts include:
â–  Cardiology —Treadmill stress test, limited echocardiogram to diagnose heart problems. Cardiologist moved to Kaiser Modesto.
â–  Radiology — No ultrasound services after 5:00 p.m. Patients who need emergency ultrasound after hours have to be transferred out to other hospitals.
â–  Closure of inpatient medical-surgical unit — An entire hospital floor has been closed, greatly reducing the number of hospital beds.
â–  Gradual closure of subacute rehabilitation unit —The majority of these patients are chronically ill and often elderly who need intense rehabilitation, medical monitoring, and/or skilled nursing care, in addition to careful planning for discharge. These patients include those who are recovering from strokes, have cardiac or respiratory issues, and cancer patients.