San Joaquin County Employees Protest Proposed Increase in Copayments for Physician Visits, Prescription Drugs
More than 1,400 San Joaquin County employees represented by Service Employees International Union Local 790 on Monday went on strike to protest a county contract proposal that would increase their copayments for physician visits and prescription drugs, the Stockton Record reports. The county employees, who include pharmacists, speech therapists, radiologists and medical assistants, picketed the county Human Services Agency and other county agencies to protest a three-year contract proposal that would require employees who receive a 2.5% wage increase to pay increased out-of-pocket health care costs. County officials have said that health care costs for employees have increased 30% since last year and that employees must cover a larger share of the costs to offset the cost of a wage raise. In a letter to the county, SEIU officials said that the employees who went on strike Monday would return to work today. However, union officials said some members may picket San Joaquin General Hospital tomorrow, a move that could "cripple all but emergency services" at the facility, the Record reports. San Joaquin General spokesperson Troylene Sayler said that the California Nurses Association, which represents registered nurses at the facility, told hospital officials that members would not cross the picket line. The San Joaquin General emergency room will remain open tomorrow, but the hospital rescheduled non-emergency appointments and will not provide outpatient pharmacy, laboratory and acute-care clinic services, Sayler said (Miller, Stockton Record, 8/5).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.