Greater than 2,000 California psychological well being clinicians set to strike

The unionized psychologists, therapists, chemical dependency counselors and social employees are demanding that Kaiser Permanente present “desperately wanted” companies to its sufferers, claiming that some wait months for wanted remedy periods.

The open-ended strike is about to start Monday, the Nationwide Union of Healthcare Employees, which represents 16,000 employees in California and Hawaii, stated. Kaiser staffs about one full-time psychological well being clinician for each 2,600 members, resulting in therapists leaving Kaiser at a file fee, the union stated.

“Sufferers are getting ripped off whereas Kaiser’s coffers are bulging,” union president Sal Rosselli stated in an announcement. “We do not take placing evenly however it is time to take a stand and make Kaiser spend a few of its billions on psychological well being care.”

The strike comes because the nation experiences a surge in psychological well being points. The World Well being Group stated the primary yr of the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a 25% enhance in anxiousness and despair worldwide. And a pediatrics group final yr declared that psychological well being challenges amongst youngsters in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic had develop into a “nationwide emergency.”

The union stated that sufferers who want remedy each week or each two weeks are ready months to begin remedy regimens, after which one other 4 to eight weeks between appointments.

In an announcement, Kaiser Permanente stated the 2 key points the events are bargaining over are wage will increase and the union’s calls for to extend the time therapists are in a position to spend on duties aside from seeing sufferers. Kaiser stated they’ve proposed a rise in time allotted for administrative work, however the union is demanding extra.

In a launch, the placing clinicians stated Kaiser, which reported an $8.1 billion web revenue final yr, “refuses to adequately put money into further employees; take steps to cut back the burnout of present staff; and do what is critical to convey its psychological well being clinics into parity with different well being companies the HMO offers.”

Kaiser stated the union is “exploiting present challenges as a bargaining tactic.”

“Regardless of the union’s dangerous ways, we stay dedicated to bargaining in good religion to succeed in a good and equitable settlement that’s good for our therapists and our sufferers,” Deb Catsavas, senior vice chairman of human sources at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, stated in an announcement.

In 2014, Kaiser was fined $4 million for points with its psychological well being companies. California can also be investigating whether or not Kaiser is offering satisfactory psychological well being care to its members.

The clinicians voted in June to go on strike after a yr of failed contract negotiations.

Final November, unions and Kaiser administration reached an settlement to keep away from a strike at 14 West Coast hospitals and a whole bunch of clinics and medical workplaces. The strike would have included 32,000 union nurses, doctor assistants, pharmacists and different well being care professionals.

CNN Enterprise’ Chris Isidore contributed to this report.

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