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News of the Month – January 2024

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NUHW was featured in stories by several media, including ABC7, Audacy and Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion about a press conference where community members, local government officials and activists joined together at Glendale City Hall to speak on the effects anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and practices are having on the Glendale Unified School District. “We’re proud to join with Glendale students and teachers, and LGBTQ+ organizations to send a clear message that our community is for all,” said NUHW President Sal Rosselli.

The Press Democrat quoted NUHW Organizing Coordinator Tyler Kissinger in a story about Providence’s decision to close outpatient laboratories at Petaluma Valley Hospital, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, which he sees as the healthcare giant’s continued lack of investment in community services and increasing profits at the expense of patients and staff. Laboratory services at those facilities and at other Northern California Providence hospitals will be turned to Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics.

Gov. Newsom said in his January budget announcement that he is seeking changes and a delay toa law that sets healthcare workers’ minimum wage at $25, CalMatters reported. The first pay increases were expected to take effect in June. Newsom wants the wage increases to take place when the state’s fiscal outlook is healthy and said he is working with legislators and the law’s proponents to craft changes that will be presented in the form of a new bill. He also wants the Legislature to clarify whether state health workers are exempt from the law.

NUHW member Ken Rogers, one of 2,000 Kaiser mental health professionals who participated in a 10-week strike in Northern California in 2022, was quoted in a Capital and Main story about how Kaiser is trying to correct long-standing deficiencies in mental health care after a $200 million settlement with the state. NUHW President Sal Rosselli said that over the past few months, Kaiser has hired “a couple hundred more people” in mental health care, and in some places in California patients are receiving follow-up appointments within 10 days of care, as mandated by law. But Rosselli noted that the union can’t know how many new hires it would take for Kaiser to provide adequate care statewide.

The San Benito Health Care District Board of Directors appointed Mary Casillas as Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital permanent CEO, after she served in an interim post since 2022. Her one-year contract will automatically renew each year, expiring on Nov. 1, 2027 and includes an annual salary of $450,000, KSBW reported. Our members took note of Casillas’ salary given that the hospital has moved to cut their health benefits while not agreeing to raises.

The Orange County Register noted that Democratic Representative Katie Porter expressed her support for Medicare for All in the latest U.S. Senate Candidate debate held in Los Angeles. “I think we need to pass a health care system that delivers the best quality care with the most choice at the lowest price point,” Porter said, arguing that the system is Medicare for All.

New California state guidance says it’s OK to return to work or school if you test positive for COVID but show no symptoms, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Before this new guidance, people were told to isolate for five days whether you had symptoms or not. However, If someone has COVID-19 symptoms, they should be tested as soon as possible and wear a mask when in the company of others. The infectious period starts when signs of illness appear.

The San Benito Health Care District board voted to explore a third partnership proposal, this one with Michigan-based Insight Foundation of America, to take over Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. Insight is a nonprofit healthcare organization that runs seven facilities in Michigan, Illinois and Iowa and proposes purchasing all of Hazel Hawkins assets for between $59-65 million, reported.

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