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November 19, 2013 > Kaiser Hayward unit to close

Kaiser Hayward unit to close

Submitted By Mo Kashmiri

Families, community members, and nurses held an informational picket to protest KaiserÕs planned closure of the in-house pediatrics unit at Kaiser Hayward.

Kaiser Hayward pediatrics unit serves over 1,800 families a year, and more than 100,000 children in the Tri-City area. This closure will force families with children who need to be hospitalized to drive to Oakland, Santa Clara, or Roseville, and will affect all families with children under age 18 from Hayward, Fremont, Union City, San Lorenzo, San Leandro, and Castro Valley.

Kaiser originally planned to transition pediatric services from Kaiser Hayward to a new hospital scheduled to open in San Leandro in late 2014. These plans have been discontinued.

ÒKaiser is clearly cutting the level and quality of pediatric services being offered the families in Southern Alameda County,Ó said Kris Richter, an RN at the pediatrics unit in Hayward. ÒDo the math. As membership in the county grows, Kaiser has proposed to cut 22 nursing positions and only replace eight nursing positions in Oakland and the new hospital there isnÕt even open yet. This means a 60 percent reduction in nursing services. We arenÕt concerned about our jobs because we know we will get transfers. Our only concern is the quality of care our patients and future patients will receive if these drastic reductions go forward,Ó said Richter.

ÒThis decision needs to be reversed immediately. IÕm outraged that Kaiser doesnÕt seem to care about what the needs of local parents are,Ó said Brannin Dorsey, a concerned parent. ÒIt breaks my heart to think that Kaiser would cut the critical hospital services that our children need. We paid our premiums and we deserve the services we paid for relatively close to home, so that we can be near our children if they are hospitalized.Ó

As both an insurance company and a hospital chain, Kaiser has increased its profits by reducing patient services, especially hospital care. Kaiser has grown by more than 21,000 new members in Northern California just since June, and made more than $2.6 billion in 2012.

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