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Kaiser Nurses to Picket, Allege Staffing Shortage

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Kaiser Permanente registered nurses across the state will begin a picket Wednesday afternoon, protesting what they say is a staffing shortage that has forced patients to be turned away.

Kaiser officials say that their staffing levels meet or exceed state requirements.

The union notes that nurses from 21 Kaiser hospitals across the region – including the three Sacramento-area centers – will participate in the picket, to happen from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“Kaiser has refused to provide the nursing staff needed to safely take care of patients in our hospitals,” said Katy Roemer, an RN at Kaiser Oakland, in a statement. “We are seeing patients who used to be admitted into the hospital for care now being forced to stay in the emergency department for hours and hours.”

The union is calling for Kaiser to address the alleged staffing shortage, along with getting rid of the wait for patients who need to be admitted. Also, the union is asking for hospitals to staff permanently scheduled registered nurses.

“Kaiser Permanente was an early advocate for nurse-staffing ratios. Our nurse staffing levels comply with, and sometimes exceed, state-mandated staffing requirements at our hospitals, as we increase staffing as necessary for patients based on the complexity of their medical condition,” wrote Gay Westfall, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan Northern California, in a statement.

Kaiser nurses protested back in January, protesting – among other things – a reduction in benefits.

Officials with Kaiser Permanente note that the strike is an informational picket only, with nurses joining the picket line only on their off-time or breaks.

No impact on service is expected, officials note.

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