Kaiser Permanente, SEIU Local 250 Agree to Expand Hospital Employee Program to Northern California
Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente and Service Employees International Union Local 250 on Monday agreed to expand a pilot program that will provide "stable and improved working conditions" for employees in Kaiser hospitals in Northern California. The program will allow licensed vocational nurses and certified nurse assistants represented by SEIU Local 250 to "work in other areas or pursue skill development" when the hospitals have low patient volumes. According to Kaiser officials, most hospitals today "cancel a shift or send a health care worker home when patient census is low." The program, first launched in 2000 in Kaiser's South Bay service area, has "improved morale, decreased position vacancy rates and reduced turnover" among hospital employees, Kaiser officials said. "This program will help us achieve our staffing ratios and also improve continuity of patient care at our hospitals," Kaiser Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mary Thode said. The expanded program will begin July 1 and operate for six months. After six months, Kaiser will decide whether to "permanently implement the program and determine what resources will be needed to support it" (Kaiser release, 5/22).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.