New Radio Ads Highlight Stanford Hospital’s Patient Infections, High Prices

[June 25, 2018] OAKLAND, Calif. – Healthcare workers are continuing to highlight patient infections and high prices at Stanford University Medical Center with a new round of radio ads that will be broadcast now until Labor Day on 11 Bay Area radio stations.

“As healthcare workers at Stanford, we stand ready to work with management to solve patient infection challenges,” said Chuck Fonseca, a nursing assistant at Stanford University Medical Center. “I hope these ads get the health system to admit they have problems and work with us to find solutions, because we want our hospital’s performance to match its reputation.”

The radio spot will air on the following stations: KCBS-AM, KGO-AM, KLLC-FM, KOIT-FM, KIOI-FM, KNBR-AM, KISQ-FM, KBAY-FM, KRTY-FM, KEZR-FM and KKIQ-FM. The new radio spots come on top of an ad buy that ran March 2018 through May 2018.

“Patient deaths from one specific hospital acquired infection more than doubled over a four-year period,” said the narrator in the new 60-second ad. “Stanford was supposed to be the best. But as they got bigger, it seems like they forgot about the basics, like preventing patient infections.”

From 2013 through 2016, nearly 700 patients acquired C. diff. in Stanford University Medical Center, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. C. diff. is an infection that causes severe diarrhea and abdominal pain, kidney failure, and is fatal in more than five percent of cases. In addition, during fiscal years 2016 through 2018, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services penalized Stanford for ranking in the bottom 25 percent of the nation’s hospitals for hospital acquired conditions.

Earlier this month, ballot initiatives to limit patient overcharging qualified for the Nov. 6 ballot in Palo Alto and Livermore – where Stanford Health Care operates facilities. Under the initiatives, healthcare facilities in those communities would be limited from charging patients more than 15 percent above the actual cost of providing care.

If a healthcare facility exceeds 15 percent, it will be penalized and must refund the difference to the payer. Workers say the measure will make healthcare more affordable for patients, and encourage healthcare providers to invest more in improving staffing levels, purchasing new medical equipment and making facility improvements.

Stanford University Medical Center charges 264 percent more than the statewide average to treat a patient for alcohol or drug abuse, 141 percent more to treat a patient with chest pain and 120 percent more to treat a patient with kidney failure.

Stanford Health Care is organized as a not for profit system, yet reported operating profits last year of $234 million and reserves of more than $700 million, raising further questions regarding why Stanford University Medical Center is charging some of the highest prices in the state.

More than 1,800 Stanford University Medical Center employees are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW).

Paid for by Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers West Political Issues Committee, 560 Thomas L. Berkley Way, Oakland, CA 94612.

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