Updated at 11:30 a.m., Jan. 12, 2015
Dozens of mental health professionals picketed outside the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Grantville Monday as part of a statewide protest against alleged unfair labor practices.
Picketers outside the Zion Avenue hospital are represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers. The union said Kaiser’s “chronic failure to provide … quality mental health care” led its members to begin a weeklong statewide strike Monday.
According to the union, picketing will take place Monday around the state, including at the following Southern California locations:
— West Los Angeles Medical Center, 6041 Cadillac Ave., West Los Angeles;
— Anaheim Medical Center, 3440 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim;
— San Diego Medical Center, 4647 Zion Ave., San Diego; and
— Fontana Medical Center, 9961 Sierra Ave., Fontana.
“Kaiser Permanente’s 2,600 California mental health clinicians — psychologists, therapists, and social workers represented by the (NUHW) –will launch a statewide strike (today) to protest Kaiser’s chronic failure to provide its members with timely, quality mental health care,” the union said in a statement.
“Kaiser staff will be on 65 picket lines at more than 35 locations throughout the scheduled weeklong strike,” the union said.
Kaiser employee Marc Greenfield told NBC7/39 that it sometimes takes two months for mental health patients to get an appointment. Other workers said the Affordable Care Act and Medi-Cal have resulted in a large increase in new mental health patients.
Kaiser spokesman Rodger Dougherty told the station there isn’t necessarily a standardized wait time for someone to be seen.
“Mental health care is so individualized — an appointment may be several days or a couple weeks out,” Dougherty said. “That could be based on any number of things, up to and including patient preference and scheduling availability.”
He said the health care provider has beefed up its psychological care staff by about 25 percent over the past couple of years.
Kaiser took out advertisements in U-T San Diego and other newspapers to assure members that services will be available
—City News Service