As SEIU-UHW dives deeper under the covers with its pinstriped patrons, the folks over at NUHW are waging an interesting battle against SEIU’s favorite bedmate, Kaiser Permanente.
Two of the members of Kaiser’s Board of Directors -- Christine Cassel and Jenny Ming -- resigned their positions after NUHW exposed their six-figure conflicts of interest. Today, only 13 people remain on the corruption-tainted board, including Phil “Brazil Butt” Marineau.
Meanwhile, Cynthia Telles -- another board member -- is under fire for ignoring Kaiser’s mental health crisis and for her connection to the ongoing scandal at General Motors, where she also serves on the Board of Directors.
Apparently, “Six-Figure Cynthia” is none too popular these days after turning a blind eye to Kaiser’s suicides and GM’s fatal ignition switches… while all the while pocketing a half-million dollars a year from the two mega-corporations.
Check out this website -- www.DearCynthiaTelles.com -- which features letters to Telles from Kaiser’s patients and mental health clinicians. The letters are jaw-dropping. Here's an excerpt from one by a Kaiser clinician:
Most of the patients I see have life-altering diagnoses such as Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Major Depression. They struggle with suicidality, medication compliance, substance abuse, daily hallucinations, hopelessness, and lack of social or familial support… Most clinics are significantly understaffed, forcing patients to wait on average 4 to 8 weeks for their follow-up appointments. Can you imagine sitting with a patient who is in emotional pain, has finally come to you for support, perhaps disclosing a history of traumatic sexual abuse for the first time, doing your best to build an alliance with them and give them hope, only to then tell them, “I’ll see you in 6 weeks?”
And here's a letter from one of Kaiser's patients:
I have been a patient of KP Psychiatry Department at three KP locations… For many of us, initially asking for mental health treatment is an incredible hurdle. Often the choice to leap or die is made by the glimmer of hope that someone will be on the other side ready to help. I chose to leap. Two years later I thought I made the wrong decision. I was not alone… It was obvious the therapists were overloaded… My condition worsened and I switched medications. Nothing seemed to work. After three years, I gave up.
Meanwhile, NUHW’s mental health clinicians continue to take Kaiser to task by launching departmental strikes, filing lawsuits, and winning a $4 million fine from government investigators for Kaiser’s severe mental health violations, which appear to be identical to the scandal rocking the VA hospitals.
NUHW’s efforts have been joined by patients, who've filed a class-action lawsuit against Kaiser for illegally depriving patients of mental health care.