150,000 Healthcare Workers Organization Throws Support Behind Washington Hospital - Alameda County Proposal to Keep St. Ro

HAYWARD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The movement to keep St. Rose Hospital open through a joint proposal by Washington Hospital and Alameda County got a big boost today as the 150,000 healthcare workers organization SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West endorsed the plan and firmly opposed any deal involving highly controversial hospital chain Prime Healthcare.

St. Rose Hospital has reported financial losses and its closure would result in a major reduction of healthcare services in the region. At a hearing this Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors can approve a two million dollar infusion into St. Rose and authorize Alameda County to begin negotiating an agreement with Washington Hospital that would allow St. Rose to remain open.

Another potential buyer, Prime Healthcare, ignited a firestorm of opposition this week after making an offer on St. Rose. Prime is being investigated by the FBI for allegedly diagnosing seniors with diseases they do not have in order to reap higher Medicare reimbursements according to the San Francisco Chronicle and the Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Watch Project. Prime has also come under scrutiny for irresponsible business practices that may greatly limit community access to hospital care according to the Los Angeles Times and the Kaiser Permanente Heritage Provider Network.

"I am concerned that if Prime Healthcare buys St. Rose, the hospital will be unavailable to many residents here,” said Hayward City Council Member Bill Quirk. “St. Rose is beloved in this community, but Prime’s business model would leave many of us without the care we’ve always had."

Prime came under fire before the State Senate and Assembly Health Committees at a joint hearing in Los Angeles two weeks ago. The hearing focused in part on Prime's irresponsible treatment of emergency room patients, as alleged by Kaiser Permanente and another large HMO. Testimony also highlighted the extremely high rates of blood infections, severe malnutrition and other serious conditions reported by Prime in its hospital bills to Medicare.

“This community needs St. Rose to stay open under a reputable operator that we can trust with the lives of our loved ones,” said Annabelle Torio, an SEIU-UHW member and environmental services aide at Washington Hospital. “We cannot let bad apples like Prime Healthcare into our community.”

SEIU-UHW members work at three Prime Healthcare-owned hospitals: Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, Encino Hospital and Garden Grove Hospital. Healthcare workers are speaking out about Prime’s questionable business practices as part of “Let’s Get Healthy, California!,” a campaign by SEIU-UHW members focused on improving the quality of care statewide and the health of Californians.

SEIU-UHW members at the three facilities are in contract negotiations with Prime to improve patient care, lower healthcare costs and improve working conditions.

SEIU—United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States with more than 150,000 members. We unite every type of healthcare worker with a mission to achieve high-quality healthcare for all. SEIU-UHW is part of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation's fastest-growing union. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.


David Tokaji, 213-300-8892

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  California

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Hospitals  Public Policy/Government  Labor