On Thursday, November 20th, the leadership of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents over 2,500 mental health clinicians at Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics across California, announced that a majority of its members had voted to authorize a strike if Kaiser management does not remedy the extensive and ongoing problems with its mental health services.
NUHW President, Sal Roselli: “Kaiser Permanente is failing its mental health patients,” he said. “Kaiser simply does not staff its mental health services with enough psychologists, therapists, and social workers to handle the case load. And that case load is growing rapidly under the Affordable Care Act and the Medi-Cal carve-in. Understaffing has forced patients to endure lengthy, illegal waits for appointments, and these delays have sometimes had tragic results for patients, and have even led to suicides.”
NUHW also called for the resignation of Dr. Cynthia Telles, the only mental health clinician on Kaiser’s Board of Directors, for failing to address Kaiser’s mental health crisis. Dr. Telles has reneged on her ethical responsibility. Sal Roselli asserted that Telles has “remained silent as patients have suffered and even taken their own lives” due to the lack of access to care at Kaiser.
To learn more, check out the following news stories:
11/27/2014 – Los Angeles Times, “Kaiser Criticized Over Mental Healthcare Staffing”
11/24/2014 – Caifornia Healthline, “Kaiser Disputes Mental Health Workers’ Caims of Inadequate Care”
11/21/2014 – Vallejo Times-Herald, “Kaiser Vallejo Mental Health Workers Contemplate Strike”
11/21/2014 – Bay Area News Group, “Kaiser Mental Health Workers Say System is Broken”
11/20/2014 – California Report, KQED, “Kaiser Mental Health Clinicians Consider Strike”
11/20/2014 – Courthouse News, “Kaiser Clinicians Threaten to Strike”
11/20/2014 – Politico, “Health Care Union to Call on Kaiser Board Member to Step Down”