Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Seton hospital sale subjected to union politics at State level

Without sale to Prime Healthcare, Seton Hospital is expected to run out of money, February 15, 2015; but the following column describes the union politics.

San Francisco Chronicle/Matier and Ross Column, 1/18/15.  "Hot seat" 

Seton Hospital sale, time is of essence.
If the game of chicken is delayed or fails, we lose
...." Just as state Attorney General Kamala Harris enters the 2016 U.S. Senate race, she finds herself in the middle of a tug-of-war between two of the biggest forces in the state Democratic Party:  the Service Employees International Union and the California Nurses Association.

At issue: the proposed sale of a half-dozen Daughters of Charity nonprofit hospitals, including Seton Medical Center in Daly City, O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy and Seton Coastside in Moss Beach. The would-be buyer is Prime Healthcare Services Inc., a Southern California outfit whose business and labor practices have long been lambasted by the 150,000-member United Healthcare Workers West, which is affiliated with SEIU.

The nurses association, which has frequently clashed with its union brethren at SEIU, is supporting the sale after receiving assurances that most of its 1,800 members will keep their jobs — and a pledge that Prime will assume $300 million of pension liability. On the other hand, United Healthcare Workers West, which represents 2,600 of Daughters of Charity’s 7,600 employees, hasn’t gotten the job protection guarantees it wants and is pushing for another buyer, Blue Wolf Capital Partners.

The Daughters of Charity and Prime Healthcare have countered with a $1 million-plus TV, radio and newspaper ad campaign warning that if the deal falls through, the hospitals could close. So where does Harris come in? Within the next month, the attorney general’s office, which oversees charitable trusts, must decide whether to approve the sale. While the nurses have been very vocal, political insiders point out that they’re outnumbered by SEIU. And SEIU has the backing of other heavy hitters in labor, including the California Labor Federation and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “Generally speaking, the SEIU is more predictably a friend to Democratic politicians,” said Democratic PR consultant Nate Ballard.  “The CNA has always been viewed as out there on the left fringe of the labor movement.”  Read article.

Related - National Nurses United/California Nurses Association, CNA, article reprint, San Jose Mercury News/Sharon Erlick and Donna Fischer, 1/7/15. "Hospitlas' sale: Prime is the only buyer who can keep facilities open." "For decades, registered nurses at Daughters of Charity Health System have outlasted wars, pestilence and even earthquakes to fulfill their mission of serving the indigent and the poor in the Bay Area and Southern California. No one alive can recall a time care was not available at the local hospitals."  Note: photograph from that website.

Reference, hospitals - Seton Hospital/member of Daughters of Charity Health System. Potential sale to Prime Healthcare Services, "About:  Prime Healthcare is an award-winning hospital management company operating 29 acute care hospitals in nine states. It is one of the nation's leading healthcare service providers with more than 30,000 employees and staff dedicated to providing the highest quality healthcare and contributing to the communities they serve. Founded in 2001, Ontario, Ca.-based Prime Healthcare is committed to preserving access to healthcare and turning hospitals into thriving, community assets. Prime Healthcare continues to save hospitals, save jobs and save lives." Alternative buyer suggested by SEIU/United Healthcare Workers West Blue Wolf Capital Partners.

Reference, unions - Service Employees International Union, (SEIU).  California Labor Federation.  American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Note photographs:  Chicken racer from Games download. Nurses picketing from California Nurses Associaltion (CNA) website.  Prior Fix Pacifica blog articles - search "Seton Hospital".

Posted by Kathy Meeh

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is another choice with this.

San Mateo county could take over Seton and make it the northern branch of San Mateo county health facility.

Due to the Affordable Care Act, the MediCal population for San Mateo has doubled and I'm sure Chope would appreciate the relief.

I'm sure the other hospitals and clinics slated for purchase, could also become satellite hospitals and clinics for their county health departments too.