Kaiser Permanente Project Guarantees Nurses 40-Hour Work Week
To guarantee that its nurses work 40 hours per week, Kaiser Permanente has launched a one-year pilot program that will stop the practice of canceling shifts when patient volume is low, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports. The program was implemented in February at Kaiser's three South Bay hospitals in San Jose, Santa Clara and Redwood City. Previously, hospitals canceled nurses' shifts when patient numbers declined. However, under the new project, nurses will report to work even if patient numbers are low but will be given "other duties," such as administrative work or additional training. Kaiser officials said the project aims to recruit and retain more nurses at a time when the country is facing a "severe" nursing shortage, adding that the hospital system cannot afford the traditional incentive of higher pay. Jim Ryder, Kaiser division director for the California Nurses Association, said that while the project was an "important program," it is only a "partial solution" and will be "completely unsuccessful ... on its own." He added that in addition to guaranteed hours, nurses need higher pay and improved working conditions. If successful, the pilot program will be extended to more than 10,000 nurses in Kaiser's Northern California region (May, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 3/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.