NEWS: SEIU-UHW Members and Catholic Healthcare West Unite to Preserve Medi-Cal Funding

Fight to Protect Vital Funding for Vulnerable Californians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Contact: Carlyn Foster, (510) 541-0931, SEIU-UHW
Contect: Tricia Griffin, (415) 438-5524, CHW

San Francisco, CA—SEIU United Healthcare Workers West members, Catholic Healthcare West, doctors, patients and healthcare workers stood together at a joint press conference Thursday to call on Congress and the Super Committee to promote healthy communities and protect Medi-Cal and Medicare programs—funding that keeps California families, seniors and children healthy.

In a few short weeks, Congress will decide whether or not to cut $500 billion or more to Medicare and Medicaid. These huge cuts could affect hospitals and health caregivers’ ability to provide Californians with the care they need, and could cut numerous jobs in our community.

With record numbers of Americans unemployed or underemployed, more Americans are relying on Medicaid for their healthcare. More than one out of every seven Americans receives healthcare through Medicaid and tens of thousands of Californians with serious healthcare needs rely on Medi-Cal. Together Medicare and Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) provide funding for 51% of hospital care and 80% of nursing home care in California.

“I see it all the time—patients come in who suddenly find themselves without insurance. Deep cuts to these programs would deny healthcare to our community’s most vulnerable patients and would shift even more healthcare costs onto individuals,” said Inez Tomasino a medical assistant at CHW St Francis Memorial Hospital.

“As a member of the largest private safety-net provider in California, we see the impact of the nation’s current health system in our hospitals and clinics every day. Nearly 65 percent of the people we care for are insured through Medicare and Medi-Cal,” said Tom Hennessey, President, Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. “In 2010, CHW hospitals provided $1.4 billion in community benefits and charity care, and in San Francisco we provided $90 million in community benefits and charity care,” said Hennessey.

Catholic Healthcare West and SEIU-UHW are working together to promote healthy communities and create – not cut – healthcare jobs to strengthen our economy.

For more information, take a look at our fact sheet.

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About SEIU-UHW
SEIU—United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States with more than 150,000 members. We unite every type of healthcare worker with a mission to achieve high-quality healthcare for all. SEIU-UHW is part of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s fastest-growing union. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.

About Catholic Healthcare West

Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), headquartered in San Francisco, CA, is a system of 40 hospitals and medical centers in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Founded in 1986, it is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health care systems and the largest private hospital system in California. CHW is committed to delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable health care services with special attention to the poor and underserved. The CHW network of nearly 10,000 physicians and approximately 55,000 employees provides health care services to more than five million people annually. In 2011, CHW provided more than $1.4 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed patient care. For more information, please visit our website at www.chwHEALTH.org.

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