Therapists Pledge One-Day Strike at Kaiser Permanente Pasadena Facility

Published : Friday, April 19, 2019 | 3:05 PM

Two dozen mental health therapists at a Pasadena Kaiser Permanente clinic have announced their intention to strike for one day, April 25, to protest what they describe as severe understaffing, according to the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).

Kaiser Permanente responded by noting that it is in ongoing negotiations with the union and suggested the bargaining table is the best place to resolve the staffing issue.

The therapists say a shortage in their number is driving four-month waits for treatment appointments for mental health patients. Kaiser Permanente, NUHW said in a press statement, can avoid the stoppage by taking immediate action, including the hiring of new therapists.

“Understaffing at Kaiser mental health clinics throughout California is making patients wait far too long to see their therapists, but the situation in Pasadena is particularly egregious,” said NUHW President Sal Rosselli. “Kaiser is putting its patients in jeopardy, and it’s putting the licenses of its own clinicians at risk.”

By the union’s account, Kaiser Permanente is having all manner of trouble with state regulators when it comes to its mental health facilities. The NUHW said 4,000 psychologists, therapists, social workers and psychiatric nurses struck company clinics for five days over the same issue in December 2018.

Kaiser Permanente said that “the union’s principal demands at the bargaining table have not been about improving care and access, but about gaining even higher wages and benefits and demanding changes to performance standards that would reduce, not increase, the availability of mental health care for our members.”

Kaiser Permanente continued, “We are offering guaranteed wage increases that would keep our expert therapists among the best compensated in their profession. Our organization has a track record of paying above the median market rate for our NUHW Psych-Social and Healthcare Professionals employees and market data already shared with the union’s bargaining teams verify that fact.”

The company asserted that it meets regulatory standards for mental health care and wellness first appointments 90 percent of the time, statewide. Kaiser Permanente said it monitors specialty return visits and is following therapists’ recommendations for the timing of those visits between 86 percent and 94 percent of the time.

The Kaiser Permanente Pasadena Medical Offices are located at 3280 East Foothill Boulevard.

 

 

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