Sunday, December 7, 2014

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan: "I'm Kaiser's bitch” (Part 2)

Dave Regan's latest act of pimpery shows us he'll pretty much do anything that Kaiser Permanente’s execs ask of him.

Here's what happened:

Kaiser's execs are under fire for the HMO's deepening mental health crisis.

In September, Kaiser agreed to pay a $4 million government fine for short-staffing its mental health clinics and forcing patients to wait weeks and even months for basic care. Among multiple violations of patient care laws, Kaiser admitted to maintaining a parallel set of paper waiting lists that hid patients' massive appointment wait times -- just like at the VA hospitals. Today, Kaiser is operating under a government-issued "Cease and Desist Order."

Also in September, a U.S. Congressperson held a community forum where Kaiser was blasted by patients for its mental health failures. One of the forum's sponsors was an elected county official whose husband, a Kaiser patient, tragically took his own life while waiting 42 days for a mental health appointment despite his serious condition.

In October, Kaiser’s patients filed a fourth class action lawsuit against the giant HMO, this one alleging that Kaiser is illegally dumping patients with severe mental illness onto counties. Three other lawsuits allege that Kaiser’s appointment delays are directly connected to suicides by Kaiser patients.

And just two weeks ago, Kaiser's 2,500 mental health clinicians -- who are members of NUHW -- announced they’ve authorized a statewide strike to protest Kaiser's short staffing and its undertreatment of patients.

It's no surprise, then, that Kaiser's PR officials are sweating bullets as they stare at their computer screens and try to dream up ways to escape this PR nightmare. Then one day, however, one of them had a brilliant idea. “Let's call Dave Regan. He'll say anything."

That's how Dave Regan ended up being quoted, alongside Kaiser's chief PR hack John Nelson, in a Modern Healthcare article published last week (see below). In the article, Regan announces that there's no staffing problem at Kaiser's mental health clinics! Way to go, Dave!

Regan, of course, forgot to tell the journalist that his union doesn't represent any of Kaiser's mental health workers. Whoops!

Here's an excerpt from a comment below the Modern Healthcare article:
Neither Regan nor Nelson are as qualified to comment on the limitations of Kaiser’s mental health services as its clinicians who must wait as long as three months to see their patients for treatment appointments.
Question: What sort of labor leader shills for management? Answer: the Dave Regan sort. Regan does not represent Kaiser's mental health professionals. In 2010, fed up with his betrayal of our benefits, I and 2500 of my colleagues voted overwhelmingly to quit SEIU and join NUHW. Compromised and unqualified, he has no standing to speak comment on the deficiencies plaguing Kaiser mental health.
And here's a cartoon created in response to Regan's quote:

Dave Regan:  "for sale to the highest bidder" ...and willing to throw patients under the bus to advance his personal interest.

Modern Healthcare

Kaiser mental-health staffing under fire again

By Adam Rubenfire   December 4, 2014

Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers are accusing healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente of understaffing its mental-health services, and they're threatening to strike if their issues aren't resolved. Kaiser has responded that patients with urgent needs can be seen immediately, and it accuses the union in turn of sullying the system's reputation for its own organizing purposes.

The NUHW, founded in 2009 when it split from the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, says patients are waiting too long for appointments because there aren't enough mental-health staffers to meet demand. NUHW members, who represent about 2,500 of Kaiser's mental-health workers in California, voted in November to strike if the system doesn't make improvements.

But Dave Regan, president of the SEIU-UHW, which represents 45,000 Kaiser employees across the state, dismissed NUHW's concerns, saying that the staffing problem “was a limited one and is completely solved.”

However, this isn't the first time Kaiser has been accused of poor psychiatric care. The provider was fined $4 million by the California Department of Managed Health Care in 2013 for failing to provide timely care for its mental-health patients.

The agency also said that Kaiser's marketing materials detailing its mental-health services were confusing and unlawful, including an FAQ sheet informing patients that long-term psychotherapy was unavailable at Kaiser facilities, and would not be covered by Kaiser insurance. This statement and others were found to be in violation of the state's mental-health parity law, which requires mental illnesses to be covered and treated in the same manner as physical illnesses.

Kaiser contested the penalty but ultimately agreed to pay it... (full article)