Tags: kaiser | permanente | strke

Hundreds of Kaiser Mental Health Staff to Strike Statewide

Monday, 12 Jan 2015 06:13 AM

Hundreds of Kaiser Permanente's mental health professionals plan to start a weeklong strike throughout California Monday to protest what they a lack of staffing they say is affecting care.

Kaiser Permanente's 2,600 psychologists, therapists and social workers will launch the walkout to demand the health care provider offer timely, quality mental health care at its psychiatry departments and clinics, said Jim Clifford, a union member and San Diego psychiatric therapist.

Clifford said some patients have to wait up to two months for follow-up appointments, which prolongs the recovery process and at times even truncates it.

"Kaiser purports to be the leader in health care but it's continuing the history of discrimination against the mentally ill and that's unacceptable to us," said Clifford, who has been with Kaiser for 13 years.

Kaiser's mental health workers are represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which has been unable to reach a contract agreement with Kaiser since the union was formed five years ago.

Kaiser's Vice President of Government Relations John Nelson denied there is a shortage of mental health staff. He said the health plan has increased staffing statewide by 25 percent in the past three years, while membership grew only by 8 percent during the same period.

He said the false claims are part of the union's bargaining tactic.

"They think that attacking Kaiser Permanente's reputation will get them a better contract," Nelson said. "It's frustrating, it's disappointing but it's their strategy."

He said appointments for next week are being re-scheduled and that during the strike psychiatrists on staff will treat patients in crisis or with an emergency.

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Hundreds of Kaiser Permanente's mental health professionals plan to start a weeklong strike throughout California Monday to protest what they a lack of staffing they say is affecting care.Kaiser Permanente's 2,600 psychologists, therapists and social workers will launch the...
kaiser, permanente, strke
268
2015-13-12
Monday, 12 Jan 2015 06:13 AM
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