Kaiser nurses condemn patient-dumping scheme

Submitted by ADonahue on December 29, 2021
Large group on masked nurses outside holding signs calling for patient safety.

By Rachel Berger

National Nurse Magazine - October | November | December 2021 Issue

Kaiser registered nurses across California held more than 20 informational pickets on Nov. 10 to warn the public against Kaiser’s unsafe, new “Home All Alone” patient-dumping scheme that sends patients in need of hospitalization back home, where they will be overseen remotely by health care providers located miles away.

“If someone needs to be hospitalized, they need to be in an actual hospital and under the care of highly skilled, educated medical professionals who are able to touch, assess, monitor, and respond to critical and emergent situations which can mean the difference between life and death,” said National Nurses United President Deborah Burger, RN. “It is ludicrous to think a provider many miles away will be able to provide optimal care to patients who need to be hospitalized. There is no rapid response team at your home. There are no nurses to watch for changes in your skin color, your breathing, or to feel the dampness of your skin. Nurses know that small changes can signal big problems. This is a blatant attempt to increase profits by sacrificing high-quality patient care.”

In the Home All Alone scheme, surgical and emergency room patients who would normally be admitted into the hospital for 24-hour, hands-on care are not admitted, but instead sent to their homes where staff monitor them and coordinate their care from a virtual command center.  

“As nurses, we are horrified that Kaiser would advance this patient-dumping scheme that so clearly endangers the lives of our patients and completely disregards the central role that nurses play in providing hands-on care that promotes healing,” said Burger. “Nurses and other health professionals cannot be replaced by iPads, monitors, and a camera. Our patients deserve much more than this and should flat out reject Kaiser’s program. To send patients home and call that ‘hospital care’ debases what hospital care means, endangers patients, and is an insult to patients, nurses, and all the many health care professionals who provide care in hospital settings.”

Rachel Burger is a communications specialist at National Nurses United.