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Kaiser Permanente Nurses Strike Over Patient Safety

Nurses at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center are participating in a four-day strike that began on June 23. Tee 1,300 nurses expected to participate are striking for a potentially troubling reason: substandard staffing levels that put patients at risk.

According to KNBC-TV, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United union contends that Kaiser refuses to hire enough nurses to properly staff the hospital. The union points to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Tertiary Care center as being especially short-staffed.

The nurses say that inadequate staffing forces them to skip meal and rest breaks. A corresponding demand for higher salaries is in part to attract more nurses to take jobs at Kaiser.

Kaiser administrators have denied that the HMO giant has failed to hire enough nurses at its Los Angeles Hospital. Hospital spokespeople claim that the facilities staff-to-patient ratios “meet or exceed state guidelines.”

From an individual patient perspective, Kaiser members likely can’t tell once they are hospitalized what the appropriate staff to patient ratio should be. All they know is that they either are getting, or are not gay, adequate attentive qualified nursing care.

Over 9 million members, Kaiser is the largest HMO in the United States. California, Kaiser is the primary insurer for many local government and state employees. Kaiser has coined the phrase “care and coverage” as part of its “thrive” campaign.

Kaiser’s system of health delivery requires management of large patient populations. Proper inpatient staffing is required for that model to work. Where there is inadequate staffing, attention or monitoring by nurses, mistakes inevitably occur. Nursing negligence at the immediate point of care is a regular occurrence where under staffing is present.

The attorneys of the Walkup Law Firm have been prosecuting cases under the Kaiser arbitration system for almost 40 years. They know the system inside out, and have arbitrated more cases on behalf of Kaiser members than any other law firm involved in medical negligence litigation. Kaiser members who have suffered goal malpractice related injuries should contact a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible.