Kaiser Permanente mental health providers ratified the new labor contract by 1,561 votes to 36. They said the deal would fundamentally improve the company’s ability to hire and retain people working in the field.
The vote officially ended the longest mental health workers’ strike in U.S. history after 10 weeks, the leader of the National Health Workers Union in Northern California said in a statement Thursday. Picket workers endured record heat during the days of the protests.
Union members Jennifer Browning, Jenny Boutella and Kenneth Rogers said the work ethic was exhausting but ultimately paid off. However, there was a dead end regarding the change that the therapist wanted to improve working conditions.
“It took longer than it should have to reach this agreement, but in the end, Kaiser’s negotiators told us at the negotiating table that they would never agree to a patient care agreement.” We have successfully secured significant improvements,” Browning said. Licensed clinical social worker at Kaiser in Roseville. “Since we are seeing patients remotely, we are able to keep many patients at Kaiser by giving them enough time to complete all patient care tasks, with very few appointment cancellations. Help Kaiser retain employment.More therapists.”
Kaiser’s management chose not to comment on Thursday, but released a joint statement with NUHW on Tuesday, saying they were pleased to reach a tentative agreement.
According to Rogers, the four-year contract will give Kaiser’s more than 2,000 therapists nearly two extra hours each week to perform critical patient care duties.
“We weren’t able to see patients because we were understaffed and people left KP,” said Rogers, a psychologist who practices in Elk Grove. “By reconciling with the union, KP has the perfect opportunity to start restoring its image of employee job satisfaction. I’m not going to stay, that’s the bottom line.”
Therapists currently spend about seven hours a week answering patient emails and voicemails, coordinating treatment plans, communicating with social services and courtroom officials, and arranging appointments, unions say. said.
Butera said he was understaffed so badly that customers were waiting two months for their next appointment.
“These are regular treatment sessions, and weekly or bi-weekly delivery of treatment is the standard of care,” Boutella said. And they’ll start working on things… (and) eventually it’ll start to get better, at most he could have seen six patients a year. ”
Kaiser hires more therapists
As part of the deal, Kaiser agreed to hire additional therapists and expand its treatment program to make it easier for certain patients to book appointments for shorter durations of treatment.
Rogers says if Kaiser has the number of hires he needs, he and other mental health clinicians will know because they will be seeing clients more often over the course of the year. Also, therapists do not routinely work 60 hours a week to meet the needs of their patients.
“Patients who probably didn’t have time to see them for four weeks now have time to see them for three or two weeks,” Rogers said. “We will notice these kinds of changes based on our hiring and retention practices over the next few years.”
As part of the labor agreement, Kaiser also said it will work with therapists to expand the availability of crisis response services at clinics, giving therapists working with children more time to conduct initial assessments.
13% raise in 4 years
Kaiser leaders also agreed to form five labor-management committees to study areas such as patient admissions, child and family care, and crisis management over the next six months. testifying before public officials In an interview with The Bee, members of Kaiser said the company’s hiring process is hindered their efforts to seek help For yourself, your children, or both.
Rogers said he will likely end up serving on at least one committee, saying he is optimistic and wants Kaiser to do the work of improving patient care in behavioral services. said the company Two-state probe target Respond to customer complaints about behavioral health problems.
NUHW has not signed a new contract in over a year, and Kaiser has agreed to retroactive wage increases. For the first year of his contract he will get a 4% raise and for his next three years he will get a 3% raise. The company will also pay a lump sum bonus of 1% in the second and fourth years of the contract. Bilingual therapists will receive an additional fee of $1 to $1.50 an hour as part of the company’s efforts to give patients access to healthcare professionals who speak a language they are comfortable using.
https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health-and-medicine/article267661557.html Kaiser Mental Health Providers Ratify Deal, End Strike