News of the Month — April 2022

NewsApril 27, 2022

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Becker’s Hospital Review quoted NUHW Northern California Providence Organizing Coordinator Tyler Kissinger in a story about how hospitals are boosting pay to attract and retain workers amid workforce shortages. Tyler noted that sign-on and referral bonuses only go so far and that the only sustainable way to attract and retain employees is to increase staffing levels so healthcare workers don’t burn out trying to do everything they can to care for their patients.

KRON4 reported that NUHW members joined nurses at Seton Medical Center at a one-day strike they held on Thursday March 30. Nurses said the hospital is disregarding the state’s safe staffing law which establishes how many patients a nurse can safely care for. They were also demanding better resources due to a lack of nursing assistants, clerks, and secretaries.

NUHW joined with 16 counties, community clinic groups and health insurers to oppose a deal to grant Kaiser Permanente a no-bid statewide Medi-Cal contract, which would allow the HMO giant to pick the enrollees it wants and avoid the less healthier and more expensive patient populations that would go to other health plans, reported the California Healthline.

NUHW is noted as one of the contributors and supporters of several candidates running in the June 7 primary, including Orange County District 4 Supervisor Doug Chaffee, reports the Fullerton Observer. The Almanac News adds NUHW is also backing San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa in the race for Congressional District 15. The Monterey County Weekly indicates NUHW is among the endorsers for Regina Gage, candidate for Monterey County District 2 Supervisor. The Davis Vanguard reported that Pamela Price has picked up the endorsement of NUHW in her candidacy for Alameda County District Attorney. Fox5 San Diego reports that NUHW has endorsed David Alvarez to replace Lorena Gonzalez in the 80th State Assembly District. The San Mateo Daily Journal also reported that NUHW has endorsed Laura Palmer-Lohan to represent San Mateo County’s District 3.

Becker’s Hospital Review reported that Tenet recorded an operating income of $648 million in the first quarter of 2022. In the same period last year, Tenet’s operating income was $520 million. The company’s salary, wage and benefit expenses declined 0.9 percent year over year, supplies decreased 2.4 percent and other operating expenses decreased 12.1 percent year over year.

Children as young as 8 years old should be screened for anxiety and those ages 12 and over for depression, even if they don’t show signs of these conditions, according to a new guidance by the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which cites the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on some children may be traumatic, Reuters reported.

The Center Square reported on AB 2183, which is making its way through the Assembly and would allow California farmworkers to vote by mail to unionize in lieu of an onsite secret ballot election. AB 2183 would also require the company to provide organizers with “a specified list of current employees” or face fines of up to $10,000.

Democratic Sens. Alex Padilla from California and Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island have introduced SB 3828 which would ease student loan debt for frontline healthcare workers, including physician assistants, doctors, nurses, medical interns, home health care workers, and emergency medical technicians transporting patients to hospitals, reported KQED.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left healthcare workers with trauma-like symptoms similar to combat veterans such as depression or a lower quality of life, according to a study cited by NBC News. Apart from burnout, healthcare workers also suffered moral injury — a wound to the psyche — which manifests in feelings of guilt or shame after participating in high-stress situations that required life-or-death decision-making.

Lawsuits brought by Black surgeon Stephen Noble and ophthalmologist Omandi Nyong’o accuse Sutter Health of racial discrimination, bias reviews and humiliation, reported KCRA. Also, in an arbitration brought a by different doctor last year, Sutter Medical Group was found liable for racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation and is required to pay former Black doctors millions.