Kaiser

SEIU-UHW represents 55,000 Kaiser workers across California. Our members – including 450 newly organized Status 5 clerical workers – provide every level of service from licensed vocational nurses, radiology technologists, and lab techs to housekeeping, dietary aides, and maintenance employees. We are proud to have bargained industry-leading wages and benefits, including fully paid healthcare, job security, and a pension.

Together, we are adding strength to SEIU-UHW to build a better future for our families, advocate for better health in our communities, and improve care at Kaiser across the state. Through our work on saving the Affordable Care Act, electing healthcare champions, raising the minimum wage, and organizing non-union hospitals, SEIU-UHW Kaiser workers have been instrumental in lifting up the standard of living not only for our own co-workers, but for millions of Californians.

From the Frontlines of Kaiser Bargaining


There’s been a lot of action in bargaining already. Here are answers to the big questions:

What are our bargaining priorities?

The same as they’ve always been. Our SEIU-UHW Bargaining Team and the Coalition are committed to winning a long-term agreement that:

  • Protects ALL our benefits
  • Stops outsourcing
  • Invests in the workforce of the future
  • Provides equal pay for equal work

What can WE do to win a great contract?

Turn up the heat on Kaiser at ALL our facilities. That means making the next round of pickets even bigger and badder than the first round. Click here to find out when the pickets hit YOUR facility!

Why did some small unions leave the Coalition of Unions?

On March 26 — the day before National Bargaining was to begin — a cluster of small unions pulled out of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. These unions left the Coalition because they wanted the right to cut a weak deal with Kaiser over the objections of the majority. Their leaders were ready to agree to a short-term deal with higher healthcare co-pays and regional disparities in wages. The majority of us in the Coalition said NO WAY. So the small unions left the Coalition to go it on their own.

What was Kaiser’s response to the small unions leaving the Coalition?

Kaiser doesn’t know what to do in the face of the small unions breaking away. They refuse to lead. They can’t decide if they want the Partnership or not. They’re lost. The one thing Kaiser DOES know is that, despite record earnings and $32 billion in reserves, they’ll keep pushing to outsource our jobs and cut our wages and benefits. WE REFUSE — and we’ll show Kaiser that on the picket lines, in the workplace, and at the bargaining table.

How long will it take to get the deal we want?

Remember that ALL our rights, raises, and benefits are protected through September of 2019. We have time to fight for a great contract — and this could be a long fight. The best contract in the healthcare industry is worth fighting for, no matter how long it takes.

The 300-member Bargaining Team stormed Kaiser headquarters?

Yes! We let them know that all 85,000 of us Coalition members are dead set on winning a contract that protects ALL our jobs, wages, and benefits. Check it out on TwitterFacebook, Instagram!

Comments Off on From the Frontlines of Kaiser Bargaining

Elected Officials to Kaiser Caregivers: WE HAVE YOUR BACK!

These elected officials all over California are calling out Kaiser for trying to outsource and relocate our jobs across the state for lower wages — and are pushing Kaiser to protect every one of these jobs. Congratulations to these leaders for standing with  caregivers in our fight for healthcare justice at Kaiser.

Click here to read all their letters. 

Rep. Adam Schiff, U.S. House of Representatives, District 28

Rep. Brad Sherman, U.S. House of Representatives, District 30

Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, U.S. House of Representatives, District 32

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, U.S. House of Representatives, District 40

Sen. Nancy Skinner, State Senator, District 9

Sen. Kevin de Leon, State Senator, District 24

Sen. Ed Hernandez, State Senator, District 22

Assemblymember Laura Friedman, District 43

Chairperson Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District 3

Chair Pro-Tem Janice Hahn, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District 4

Sup. Scott Haggerty, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 1

Sup. Wilma Chan, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 3

Sup. Sandra Lee Fewer, San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, District 1

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, City of Los Angeles, District 3

Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, City of Oakland, At-Large

Baldwin Park City Council

Comments Off on Elected Officials to Kaiser Caregivers: WE HAVE YOUR BACK!

Meet Our 2018 Kaiser Bargaining Team!

Congratulations to our 68 newly-elected SEIU-UHW Bargaining Team Members and Alternates, and our 144 official SEIU-UHW Bargaining Observers. United across California, we’re ready to win big in 2018 national negotiations with Kaiser.

SEIU-UHW members across Kaiser elected our bargaining team. Now our co-workers on the bargaining team are getting ready to represent us in contract negotiations as we fight to improve patient care and protect our jobs, wages, and benefits.

 2018 SEIU-UHW BARGAINING TEAM (CICs)

Antelope ValleyBrenda L Parker

Antioch, Martinez: Angela P Glasper

Baldwin Park: Trina A Ibarra

Downey: Tinesha N Thomas

Fremont, Pleasanton, Livermore, Liv Dist Ctr: Lenetra S Stevenson

Fresno: Patrick G Cloney

LA Regional: Janice R Williams

LAMC: Ilda C Luna

LAMC: Ju’anna M Isaiah

Medical Social Workers: Jeannifer A Key

Oakland, Berkeley Lab, KPPACC: Sonya Allen-Smith

Orange County: Darrell “DJ” L Jerome

Orange County: Denise L Ellis-Lathon

Panorama City: Holly L Craft Moreno

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Angela A Young

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Shantay McGraw

Sacramento, Call Center, Davis, Rancho: Donna Young

Sacramento, Call Center, Davis, Rancho: Georgette A Bradford

San Francisco, French Campus: Easa Z Lewis

San Jose, Gilroy: Ethan Ruskin

San Leandro, Hayward: Ivory L Evans

San Rafael, Richmond, Novato, Petaluma: Zachary N Adams

Santa Clara, Mt. View, Milpitas, Campbell: Rossana A Radford

Santa Clara, Mt. View, Milpitas, Campbell: Virginia Bolanos

Santa Rosa: Ursula Nieto

South Bay: Tony G Flores

South Sacramento: Lanette M Griffin

South San Francisco, Redwood City: Isis Acevedo

Stockton Modesto, Manteca, Tracy: Debru T Carthan

Vacaville, Fairfield: Donna M Norton

Vallejo, Napa: Ollie J Allen

Walnut Creek: Ike Wardley III

West Los Angeles: Verna E Hampton

Woodland Hills: Lucy Rojas

 

2018 SEIU-UHW BARGAINING TEAM ALTERNATES (ALTERNATE CICs) 

Antelope Valley: Wallace L Johnson

Antioch, Martinez: Norma P Navarrete

Baldwin Park: Mark A Matthews

Downey: Gigi F Toledo

Fremont, Pleasanton, Livermore, Liv Dist Ctr: Rosie V Carranza

Fresno: Carrie L Grossman

LA Regional: Adriana Barragan

LAMC: Darren “Tree” Wallace

LAMC: Dory D Machica

Medical Social Workers: Nakia V Linzie-Shavers

Oakland, Berkeley Lab, KPPACC: Hillary M Distefano

Orange County: Brandy D Cunningham

Orange County: Danielle D Hill

Panorama City : Corina D Romero

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Liz E Grigsby

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Tami S Chew

Sacramento, Call Center, Davis, Rancho: Tracy L McCreery

Sacramento, Call Center, Davis, Rancho: Warner T Myles

San Francisco, French Campus: Erica E Boddie

San Jose, Gilroy: Ann Hoston

San Leandro, Hayward: Lisa V Walker

San Rafael, Richmond, Novato, Petaluma: Lisa R Nelson

Santa Clara, Mt: View, Milpitas, Campbell: Eleanor B Ventura

Santa Clara, Mt: View, Milpitas, Campbell: Maria A Valenzuela

Santa Rosa: Jessica L Skogebo

South Bay: Evelia Rodriguez

South Sacramento: Richard Prasad

South San Francisco, Redwood City: Terrie L Ridgeway-Olmos

Stockton Modesto, Manteca, Tracy: Savonnda Blaylock

Vacaville, Fairfield: Andrina M Lunde

Vallejo, Napa: Ann M Larocco

Walnut Creek: Vickisha Keys

West Los Angeles: Sharrette V Hemmans

Woodland Hills: Danny Romo

 

2018 SEIU-UHW BARGAINING OBSERVERS 

Antelope Valley: Alexandria M Sanchez

Antioch: Carolina Galarza-Rabi

Antioch: Gladys J Garcia-Perez

Antioch: Lisa Garross

Baldwin Park: Charquenta Y Brown

Baldwin Park: Jenny P Dang

Baldwin Park: Desiree Pedroza

Baldwin Park: Lanai Peatry

Baldwin Park: La Tanya Smith

Berkeley Lab: Darien P Perrilliat

Downey: Edna Marie Clayton

Downey: Geanise P Richardson

Downey: James T Bell

Downey: Jon D Portez

Downey: Marisa Montanez

Downey: Arletta Thomas

Folsom: Mayo Martinez

Fremont: Angelina Sanchez

Fremont: Tommia R Andrews

Fresno: Carlos Martinez

Fresno: Pauline Hutton

Fresno: Rhonda K Singh

KPPACC: Regina Allen

LA Regional: Lawanna Harris

LA Regional: Leland J Ferguson

LA Regional: Natalia M Rodriguez

LA Regional: Robert Avege

LAMC: Brittany Everidge

LAMC: Cathy D Karr

LAMC: Mustafaa Tyehimba

LAMC: Liliana Aguirre

LAMC: Oscar R Gaspar

LAMC: Shavonda L Waller

LAMC: Viretta J Wilson

LAMC: Elissa Underwood

Manteca: Jimmie R Morris

Martinez: Cristina Torres-Lopez

Medical Social Workers: Almira P Agas

Modesto: Ronika L Winchester

Modesto: Kimon Christopher

Modesto: Terri A Williams

Moreno Valley: Dan L Williams

Napa: Breann R Abernathy

Oakland, Alameda, 1950 Franklin: Fay Eastman

Oakland, Alameda, 1950 Franklin: Leodis Conley

Oakland, Alameda, 1950 Franklin: Mario A Robinson

Oakland, Alameda, 1950 Franklin: Mitchell Lewis

Oakland, Alameda, 1950 Franklin: Vladimir Rogers

Orange County: Boi Vo

Orange County: Debra K Larios

Orange County: Denise Marsile

Orange County: Edith Cota

Orange County: Jason E Chapman

Orange County: Mitchell L Marsile

Orange County: Annette Nunez

Orange County: Adriana Munoz

Orange County: Jenna R Retana

Orange County: Shawn T Hornbuckle

Panorama City: David Luna

Panorama City: Elizabeth C Serafin

Panorama City: Janet M Oliver

Panorama City: Rafael Sanchez Jr

Pleasanton, Livermore, Liv Dist Ctr: Margaret C Boyd

Redwood City: Ron Cook

Redwood City: Terry R Manning

Redwood City: Phillip Black

Richmond: Fredrick L Mayfield

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Christina Brown

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Ja’nice S Wisdom

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Kellie J McAlister

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Lisa R Lomas

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Stacey Kearney

Roseville, Folsom, Lincoln: Tracy C Custodio

Sacramento Call Ctr: Jackie Bates

Sacramento, Davis, Rancho: Diane Newton-Blair

Sacramento, Davis, Rancho: Jeffery L Taylor

Sacramento, Davis, Rancho: Jesse A Rios

Sacramento, Davis, Rancho: Kristie L McGinnis

Sacramento, Davis, Rancho: Micka N Johnson

Sacramento, Davis, Rancho: Myeisha J Tajan

San Francisco, French Campus: Andrea Brown

San Francisco, French Campus: Treena Marie M Simmons

San Francisco, French Campus: Esther Y Hancox

San Francisco, French Campus: Yesenia Mongalo

San Francisco, French Campus: Jasmine M Gomez

San Jose, Gilroy: Angela Villarreal

San Jose, Gilroy: Natty A Medrano

San Jose, Gilroy: Anna L Vasquez

San Jose, Gilroy: Naomi M Garcia

San Jose, Gilroy: Lashawn L Batiste

San Jose, Gilroy: Leslie G Carcamo

San Leandro, Hayward: Carolyn M Hernandez

San Leandro, Hayward: Eduardo S Advincula

San Leandro, Hayward: Charina Enciso

San Rafael, Novato, Petaluma: Carolyn S Curtis

San Rafael, Novato, Petaluma: Mary L Lopez

San Rafael, Novato, Petaluma: James Wheeler

Santa Clara, Mt: View, Milpitas, Campbell: Rosalie G Bernal

Santa Clara, Mt: View, Milpitas, Campbell: Jerry Blanco

Santa Clara, Mt: View, Milpitas, Campbell: Heather J Wright

Santa Clara, Mt: View, Milpitas, Campbell: Adan D Washabaugh

Santa Clara, Mt: View, Milpitas, Campbell: Christopher D Kim

Santa Clara, Mt: View, Milpitas, Campbell: Antonio Avila

Santa Clara, Mt: View, Milpitas, Campbell: Pierce Brooker

Santa Rosa: Aminah Coleman

Santa Rosa: Jennifer L Whitright

Santa Rosa: Joseph Edwards III

Santa Rosa: Martha Rivas

South Bay: Anita Strickland

South Bay: Barbara Zepeda

South Bay: James E Christion

South Bay: Melanie P Tanner

South Bay: Nakia V Boone

South Sacramento: Ida L Prophet

South Sacramento: Jessica A Pettyjohn

South Sacramento: Keturah F James

South Sacramento: Kimberly R Samuel

South Sacramento: Veronica S Medrano

South San Francisco: Roberto C Rivera

South San Francisco: Maricela Gonzalez

South San Francisco: Lester M Mongalo

Stockton: Angie Estrada

Stockton: Lorie M Reich

Vacaville, Fairfield: Jose P Balibrea

Vacaville, Fairfield: Lori M Pimentel

Vacaville, Fairfield: Lorraine Turner

Vallejo Call Ctr: Camille J Burrell

Vallejo, Napa: Christina J Lett

Vallejo, Napa: Katie P O’Brien

Vallejo, Napa: Rosina D Riley

Walnut Creek: Bernard McCoy

Walnut Creek: James Ellison

Walnut Creek: Leah M Harcourt

Walnut Creek: Linda A Hunter

Walnut Creek: Maria A Moon

West Los Angeles: Lisa M Floyd

West Los Angeles: Lorenza King

West Los Angeles: Mattie Ruffin

West Los Angeles: Pascha L Sarpy

Woodland Hills: Claudia E Menjivar

Woodland Hills: Lydia M Rodriguez

Woodland Hills: Mikki Fletchall

Woodland Hills: Jodilynn M Cotter

Woodland Hills: Yvette Hurston

Comments Off on Meet Our 2018 Kaiser Bargaining Team!

Healthcare Workers Protest at 32 Kaiser Hospitals in California

[Feb. 6, 2018] OAKLAND, Calif.Thousands of healthcare workers will protest across California at 32 hospitals owned by Kaiser Permanente between Feb. 14 and March 15 because of the corporation’s plans that undermine patients and the people who care for them.

“Kaiser Permanente is more profitable than ever and the partnership between labor and management is a big reason for that,” said Sonia Allen Smith, an employee at Kaiser Oakland. “The partnership wasn’t built on outsourcing jobs and wage cuts, which harm patient care and our communities.”

Kaiser Permanente’s profits increased 60 percent from 2016 to 2017 and has $32 billion in reserves yet is seeking cuts that undermine patient care. Kaiser has said it wants to reduce wages for new employees by 20 percent in the Central Valley and 10 percent in the Sacramento area, which follows an offer made to employees who are members of the California Nurses Association. Workers are concerned that if wages are cut for new employees, it could spread in the future to current employees.

The corporation also plans to outsource 245 pharmacy warehouse jobs in Oakland, Livermore and Downey, and relocate 700 employees from three call centers in Los Angeles, Baldwin Park and Woodland Hills to other areas of the state where workers will earn $2 per hour less.

More than 55,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in California are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). Their contract with Kaiser Permanente expires Sept. 30, 2018.

Comments Off on Healthcare Workers Protest at 32 Kaiser Hospitals in California

Kaiser and Its Unions Jointly Denounce ACA Repeal Bill

[Sept. 22, 2017] OAKLAND, Calif. – Kaiser Permanente and its union-represented healthcare employees denounced legislation moving in the U.S. Senate that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and end healthcare coverage for millions of Americans, describing the Graham-Cassidy bill as a major step backwards that is harmful to the country’s health.

“Changes to our nation’s health care laws should increase access to high-quality, affordable care and coverage for as many people as possible, and the Graham-Cassidy bill now being considered in the United States Senate does not meet any of those tests,” wrote Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions in a letter sent today to 200,000 employees. “Instead of passing a bill which takes us backwards, we are urging lawmakers to continue work to pass bipartisan measures to stabilize the current health coverage marketplaces, to help the millions who rely upon the current markets for their care and coverage.”

The letter urged Kaiser employees to call their U.S. Senators and Representatives and ask them to oppose the legislation, and instead focus on helping the 30 million Americans currently without healthcare coverage. A vote on the bill is expected next week in the U.S. Senate.

Kaiser Permanente has operations in eight states and the District of Columbia. The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions represents 120,000 employees working in Kaiser hospitals, clinics and other facilities in those areas.

Comments Off on Kaiser and Its Unions Jointly Denounce ACA Repeal Bill

393 Hospital Workers in Turlock Join SEIU-UHW

[Aug. 23, 2017] TURLOCK, Calif. – Healthcare workers at Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, Calif. voted Aug. 22 to join SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), a union of 93,000 healthcare workers across California.

The vote affects nearly 400 workers in dozens of job titles at the hospital, including certified nursing assistants, licensed vocational nurses, housekeepers, respiratory therapists, and radiology technicians.

“We voted to join the union because we want to provide the best patient care and have a stronger voice in making that happen,” said Martha Alvarez, a patient care technician at Emanuel Medical Center. “Being able to speak up with one voice about staffing and patient care means both the hospital and the community benefit.”

Emanuel Medical Center opened in 1917 and is owned by Tenet Healthcare Corporation. More than 3,400 employees at nine other Tenet-owned hospitals in California are already members of SEIU-UHW, including Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, Calif. and Doctors Hospital in Manteca, Calif.

Comments Off on 393 Hospital Workers in Turlock Join SEIU-UHW

Statewide Ballot Initiative Filed in California to Improve Dialysis Patient Care

[Aug. 9, 2017] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Dialysis patient care advocates filed a ballot initiative today for the November 2018 election in California that seeks to improve patient care by placing minimum safety requirements on the 570 dialysis clinics in the state and limiting the amount dialysis companies can charge patients.

“I’ve been on dialysis for 2.5 years, and for much of that time I felt like the corporation cared more about its profits than me,” said Amar Bajwa, a dialysis patient from Fontana, Calif. “I see it by how rushed and understaffed the workers are, and we need this initiative to force the dialysis corporations to put profits into patient care, not executives’ pockets.”

Dialysis is a life-saving procedure that removes a patient’s blood, cleans it, and then puts it back in his or her body. Patients must go to a clinic three days a week, for three to four hours each time. More than 66,000 Californians rely on dialysis.

The proposed ballot initiative, the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Act, would do the following:

  1. Require annual inspections of dialysis clinics in California;
  2. Require safer staffing levels at dialysis clinics in California;
  3. Require more recovery time for patients at dialysis clinics in California; and
  4. Limit the amount dialysis patients may be charged for care in California.

Advocates expect to receive the initiative’s title and summary from the California Attorney General by mid-October, 2017. That allows them to begin collecting the 365,880 signatures from registered California voters needed to qualify the initiative for the ballot. Signatures must be submitted to county election officials before mid-April, 2018.

The two largest dialysis corporations – DaVita and Fresenius – made a combined $3.9 billion in profits from their dialysis operations in the United States in 2016 but fiercely resist efforts to reform the industry. They charge patients with private health insurance 345 percent of the actual cost of treatment, and dialysis clinics in California overall are only inspected on average every five to six years.

The two largest companies’ unwritten policy is that no worker be assigned more than four patients at a time, but dialysis workers have reported situations where they must monitor and care for 12 or more patients at the same time for hours on end, raising concerns when multiple patients are at risk of falling blood pressure, fainting, having some other complication, or just needing to use the restroom.

The ballot initiative is being pursued while a related bill is moving through the California Legislature. SB 349, The Dialysis Patient Safety Act, requires annual inspections of dialysis clinics, safer staffing levels and more recovery time for patients. The bill passed the California Senate in May and awaits a vote in the California Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Dialysis workers in California have been trying to form a union with SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) since 2016, and DaVita has fired five employees and disciplined an additional 18 workers following their advocacy of SB 349 and the union campaign since October 2016.

Comments Off on Statewide Ballot Initiative Filed in California to Improve Dialysis Patient Care

SEIU-UHW Joins Lawsuit Alleging California’s Separate and Unequal Medi-Cal System

[July 12, 2017] LOS ANGELES – State officials are violating the civil rights of 13.5 million individuals enrolled in Medi-Cal, the health insurance program for low-income Californians, a majority of whom are Latino, according to a lawsuit filed July 12.

The suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, alleges that Medi-Cal patients face huge obstacles in obtaining timely access to care because the state pays providers so little for their services that many doctors decline to accept Medi-Cal patients. Those problems are further compounded by the state’s failure to adequately monitor and oversee the program, according to the lawsuit.

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), CREEC (Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center) and the law firm of Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow LLP filed the suit on behalf of individuals, including a man who has cerebral palsy and is semi-paraplegic, as well as St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), and National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON).

“Medi-Cal is a critical program to so many of California’s children and adults; it is no exaggeration to say that our current and future workforce – our very prosperity as a state – depends on Medi-Cal providing access to vital physician care,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “We must ensure that Medi-Cal is administered in a fair and non-discriminatory manner that serves the healthcare needs of Latinos and all others enrolled in the program.”

At issue is Medi-Cal patients’ inability to access the care they need because of low reimbursement rates and unnecessary red tape.

Currently, California’s rates are so much lower than Medicare and employer-sponsored insurance rates that they discourage participation by healthcare providers and leave Medi-Cal recipients with few options, according to the lawsuit. With so few Medi-Cal providers, patients are frequently unable to find the primary and specialty care they need. When they do, they often wait weeks or months for appointments, or must often travel long distances effectively denying them meaningful health care, according to the complaint.

“California is required by law to provide Medi-Cal health insurance participants access to healthcare equivalent to the access of people with other insurance coverage, including employer-sponsored insurance and Medicare,” said Bill Lann Lee, senior counsel of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC), and a former assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. “In the past, when Medi-Cal was a predominantly white program, access was better because the reimbursement rates were closer to other insurance reimbursement rates. That changed when the Medi-Cal program became increasingly Latino and then majority Latino. That is discrimination.”

The lawsuit alleges the Medi-Cal program is discriminatory because as the number of Latino enrollees has increased, reimbursement rates have decreased, in violation of state civil rights protections.

Among those struggling to receive adequate healthcare access are Analilia Jimenez Perea and her son, Saul, who are two of the named plaintiffs in the civil rights suit. Saul is a Medi-Cal patient who has cerebral palsy and is semi-paraplegic. He suffers from severe seizures that have required frequent hospitalizations, but Analilia has had an extremely difficult time finding doctors who will see him. In one instance, they waited a year and a half for an appointment with a neurologist.

“It’s very sad when I try to get an appointment for him at a special clinic and they are happy to speak to me until they learn he has Medi-Cal, and then they either turn us away or tell us we’ll have to be put on a waiting list,” said Analilia.

Latinos in California have rapidly become the largest group of people receiving their health care through Medi-Cal. In 2000, 2.3 million Latinos were enrolled in Medi-Cal. By 2016, that number had risen to 7.2 million, a clear majority of the Medi-Cal population. In that same time frame – 2000 to 2016 – Medi-Cal payments to health providers fell 20 percent compared to what Medicare pays for the same services.

Medi-Cal reimbursement rates to health providers are 48th in the nation. In many cases, the reimbursement rate is lower than a physician’s cost of providing care. Similar problems exist with managed care.

Comments Off on SEIU-UHW Joins Lawsuit Alleging California’s Separate and Unequal Medi-Cal System

HBO Exposes Problems Plaguing Dialysis Industry, as CA Bill Seeks to Improve Patient Care

[May 16, 2017] LOS ANGELES – HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” broadcast a scathing segment last night about problems plaguing the dialysis industry, amidst efforts in California to improve staffing levels and patient safety at 562 dialysis clinics in the state, which provide life-saving treatment to 66,000 patients in the state.

During the 24-minute clip, which has been viewed more than 900,000 times on YouTube, host Oliver highlighted the dialysis industry’s practice of boosting profits through alleged schemes that resulted in million-dollar legal settlements for fraudulently billing for drugs and failing to disclose risks of medication. It also mentioned federal regulations that allow for woefully low staffing levels at dialysis clinics, and included excerpts from a dialysis company video in which the CEO compares his management of dialysis clinics to that of Taco Bell restaurants.

“The way dialysis companies put profits first and treat their patients and workers is awful,” said Megallan Handford, a registered nurse and dialysis worker from Corona, Calif., who is interviewed in the segment. “Comparing what happens in a Taco Bell to a dialysis clinic is an insult to all the patients who trust us with their lives.”

Dialysis is a life-saving treatment for people with kidney failure, who must have their blood removed, cleaned, and put back into their bodies. A typical treatment lasts three hours, and must be conducted three days a week for the rest of the patient’s life. More than 468,000 Americans receive daily treatment in dialysis clinics.

In California, a bill is moving through the legislature to mandate annual inspections of dialysis clinics, safer staffing levels and more time between patients to allow them to recover and for staff to sanitize equipment to reduce infections, the second-leading cause of death for dialysis patients. The bill has passed two committees in the State Senate and a vote by the full Senate is expected no later than June 2. More than 500 dialysis workers, patients and allies are expected to attend a May 23 rally in support of the bill at the state capitol in Sacramento, Calif.

Currently, dialysis clinics in California are inspected on average every five to six years, while nursing homes – and even restaurants – are inspected every year.

The two largest dialysis corporations – DaVita and Fresenius – made $2.9 billion in profits from their dialysis operations in the United States in 2015, but workers and patients say the companies pocket the money rather than use some of it to improve patient care or provide adequate staffing in their clinics.

Dialysis workers regularly report low staffing levels and say it threatens patient care. Eight states already have minimum staffing levels in dialysis clinics: Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

Dialysis workers in California are trying to form a union with SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) for safer working conditions, and stronger worker and patient protections. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.morethannumbers.org.

Comments Off on HBO Exposes Problems Plaguing Dialysis Industry, as CA Bill Seeks to Improve Patient Care

Bill to Improve Critical Dialysis Patient Care Passes CA Senate Health Committee

[March 29, 2017] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Statewide efforts to improve patient care and staffing at dialysis clinics advanced today after the Senate Health Committee passed legislation affecting 560 dialysis clinics and 63,000 patients in California.

SB 349, the Dialysis Patient Safety Act, mandates annual inspections of dialysis clinics and safer staffing levels. In California, dialysis clinics – which provide a difficult treatment that patients need to survive – are inspected on average only every five to six years, while nursing homes in the state must be inspected every year. Even California restaurants are inspected annually, six times more frequently than dialysis clinics.

“It bothers me a lot knowing I can’t give my patients the full attention and care they need and deserve because of short staffing,” said Emanuel Gonzales, a dialysis worker from Pomona, Calif., during his testimony before the committee. “I should be able to check in with them during their treatment to see how they’re doing, and have adequate time to make sure we thoroughly clean all the equipment before the next patient, but we just don’t have enough people.”

Dialysis workers have reported situations where they must monitor and care for ten or more patients at the same time for hours on end, raising concerns when multiple patients are at risk of falling blood pressure, fainting, having some other complication or just needing to use the restroom.

Others testifying at the Senate hearing included Roberta Mikles of San Diego, whose father died a few days after a dialysis session in 2010. She said there was not enough dialysis staff working when his blood pressure dropped, and they weren’t able to properly intervene. He was taken out of the clinic on a stretcher and died three days later at home.

In addition, Dr. Joseph Merighi of the University of Minnesota discussed his decade-long research into staffing at California dialysis clinics. He told the committee that safer staffing levels could improve patient care by allowing social workers to screen patients for depression, motivate them and encourage them to take their medications, and use strategies to reduce missed or shortened treatments that can put patients’ lives at risk.

Dialysis is a life-saving treatment for people with kidney failure who must have their blood removed, cleaned, and put back into their bodies. A typical treatment lasts three to four hours, and must be conducted three days a week for the rest of the patient’s life.

The two largest dialysis corporations – DaVita and Fresenius – made $2.9 billion in profits from their dialysis operations in the United States in 2015, but workers say the companies are not spending enough to improve patient care or provide adequate staffing in their clinics.

Seven states already have minimum staffing levels in dialysis clinics: Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

Dialysis workers in California have been uniting in a union, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), for safer working conditions and stronger worker and patient protections. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.morethannumbers.org.

Comments Off on Bill to Improve Critical Dialysis Patient Care Passes CA Senate Health Committee