Members move Hospital Authority one step closer to reality

Comm team 2SEIU 521 members succeeded in moving Kern County one step closer to creating an independent hospital authority to improve public health care. AB 2546 (Salas), a bill SEIU 521 members helped draft, has cleared the State Senate Health Committee and is moving forward. Members are now pushing forward to help it pass through the entire legislature in August. Similar to legislation we supported and helped pass in Monterey County, this bill would allow Kern County to pass an ordinance that would establish the Kern County Hospital Authority. The Authority would grant us the flexibility to run the hospital in today’s post-ACA competitive environment, while protecting the rights, benefits, and retirements of workers. Read about the Hospital Authority bill (PDF)

We view this bill as one positive step forward in the continuing evolution of health care reform. Our county is dealing with rules around employment and purchasing that make running a hospital in 2014 untenable. Integrated, coordinated care is a proven model of success nationwide, in both the public and private sectors.

– Luisa Blue, Chief Elected Officer, SEIU Local 521

The healthcare landscape as we know it is changing. Public hospitals will have to compete for patients while improving the quality of care and reducing costs in order to excel in the new healthcare marketplace. Without AB 2546, Kern County is stuck with a status quo that is not meeting the needs of the region’s expanding Medi-Cal populations – a segment historically underserved but who face urgent healthcare needs.

SEIU was instrumental in getting the Affordable Care Act passed, challenging states and counties to be creative in rethinking how to deliver quality care to patients when they need it, where they need it. We will continue to innovate and move forward.

– Phil Brown, Senior IT Support Specialist at KMC

SEIU members have put countless hours into making this step forward a reality. Our aim continues to be creating an integrated health care system that aligns our hospital with a health plan and a medical group. A system that provides the full continuum of care is a proven model of success in the private sector and would benefit thousands of people in need. We will continue to work with Kern County to continue to pursue this model to improve the health status of our community. SEIU members helped pass the Affordable Care Act. Our county eligibility workers are still helping to implement Covered CA and expand Medi-Cal. We are committed to continuing the work of bringing quality, affordable healthcare to our underserved population.

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