By California Nurses Association
Children, parents, and concerned community members along with RNs will be picketing and selling lemonade Wednesday at noon to protest Kaiser Permanente’s plans to close in 2014 the pediatrics unit in Hayward, for children in need of hospitalization, the California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United announced today.
Folks will picket and hold the lemonade stand from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at Kaiser Hayward, 27400 Hesperian Blvd.
Wednesday’s action is part of a growing and heated battle to keep the unit open; i.
The Kaiser Hayward inpatient pediatrics unit serves more than 1,000 families a year. There are over 100,000 children in the tri-city area who receive healthcare from Kaiser Permanente.
Kaiser is building a nearby hospital in San Leandro slated to replace much of the Hayward facility, yet has made no plans to include an inpatient pediatrics unit.
Currently, the Hayward inpatient pediatrics unit serves children who live in a geographic area that includes Hayward, Fremont, Union City, San Lorenzo, San Leandro, and Castro Valley. The closure will force southern Alameda County families with children who need to be hospitalized to drive to Oakland, Santa Clara, or Roseville for care.
“In the event that children require hospitalization, it would create an unnecessary hardship on working families to have to drive to Oakland, Santa Clara, or Roseville for care, especially for parents who have children with chronic medical problems that require frequent pediatric services,” said Winny Knowles, an RN who works in the pediatrics unit.
“Kaiser members with children deserve access to critical care in their own community in order to thrive. As a dedicated pediatric RN, I have cared for Kaiser members and their children for over four decades and as a Kaiser member myself, I am disappointed at the corporate decision to reduce this vital service in my community.”
This change will affect all families with children under 18 years old from Hayward, Fremont, Union City, San Lorenzo, and Castro Valley.
At a time of record profits, Kaiser should be increasing and improving access to services, not cutting them. Nurses and other community leaders are opposed to this planned closure.
Many elected officials, local unions, and community groups have endorsed the campaign to keep the Kaiser pediatrics unit open, including U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, Sen. Ellen M. Corbett, former Assembly Member Alberto Torrico, Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski, Searles Elementary PTA/PTC in Union City, Alameda Central Labor Council, Hayward Firefighters, Local 1909 Stonebrae PTA/PTC in Hayward, and the Tri-Valley Democratic Club.