CALIFORNIA NURSES ASSOCIATION: Broadens Suit Against Kaiser Permanente
The California Nurses Association's lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente has "moved to the Contra Costa County superior court and changed its tone," the San Francisco Business Times reports. According to CNA spokesperson Charles Idelson, the suit now has two purposes. The first is to force Kaiser to reopen its hospital in Martinez, which the HMO closed over a year ago. The suit's second goal is to get the state to "crack down" on what CNA's believes is Kaiser's violation of California's unfair business practice law. Kaiser reportedly did not offer services that it advertised in Martinez and Richmond. However, "The primary goal is to get [the Martinez] facility reopened because there clearly is a need for the level of emergency care services that used to exist in Contra Costa County," Idelson said. "There is an enormous burden placed on registered nurses elsewhere in the system. They're seeing an overload of patients because those patients can't get care in their own communities," he added.
To The Future
Kaiser spokesperson Lila Petersen disagreed, noting that the Martinez facility was reduced to four beds by the time it closed, and that the state would not have approved the closure if it was not in patients' best interests. Further, Kaiser said "it's trying to move into the future, not the past, and use its scarce health care dollars as well as possible." Petersen said, "They want to continue delivering health care the way it was delivered six or seven years ago, and the medical field has changed dramatically. Instead of the CNA training their nurses in the new technologies and new pharmaceuticals that would really help deliver better care, they are looking for job security." Kaiser has added 510 nurses in the Martinez-Antioch and Hayward-Richmond regions in the past year, Peterson noted (Bole, 8/3 issue).