UNAC/UHCP Tells Kaiser: “Have a Heart” in Antelope Valley

February 2013

Michelle Swett speaks to Time Warner Cable in front of Kaiser Lancaster

Michelle Swett speaks to Time Warner Cable in front of Kaiser Lancaster

Nurses and health care workers gathered on February 14 in front of the hospital with a special Valentine’s Day message for Kaiser: “Have a Heart, Keep Our Urgent Care 24/7.”

Wait times at nearby hospital ERs like Antelope Valley and Palmdale Regional already typically far exceed those at Kaiser Urgent Care in Lancaster, and can only be expected to increase with the closure.

“I recently had the opportunity to visit somebody at the ER at Antelope Valley. It was appalling,” said Belinda Honeywell, a Registered Nurse at Kaiser’s Lancaster facility for ten years, and an Antelope Valley resident since 1990. “There were 136 people there. They were sitting and standing in the halls, waiting for hours.”

“I just wish the people who were making the decision to close our Urgent Care would take one trip to the ER at Antelope Valley,” said Honeywell. “It’s a nightmare, and our Urgent Care is still open! How much more of a nightmare are we creating by closing our Urgent Care at night?”

“Kaiser just announced last Friday that their profits are up 30%. They made over two and a half billion dollars last year. There’s no financial justification for this closure,” said Ken Deitz, RN, President of UNAC/UHCP. “If a local resident suffers chest pains or shows symptoms of having a stroke in the middle of the night, where are they going to get fast, high quality medical attention? They’ll have to drive more than 50 miles to Kaiser in Panorama City to get the same quality healthcare they can get right now at the Lancaster Urgent Care. Kaiser patients deserve accessible, quality healthcare in their own communities. What kind of message is Kaiser sending to its members with this decision?”

The Antelope Valley Press and the local Time Warner news station covered the rally. UNAC/UHCP member Michelle Swett was featured on television discussing the negative impact of the urgent care reduction in hours (see picture, above). We continue to organize press events and community support measures to keep the pressure on Kaiser to honor the contract and recognize seniority.