Community First @ KMC

Governor Brown signs Hospital Authority Bill

Our work has paid off and Kern County now has authorization from the state  to create a hospital authority for KMC. Public hospitals today face a more competitive marketplace, post Affordable Care Act. To succeed, KMC must transform and increase the number of people who will select us as their provider of first choice. The legislation helps bring flexibility to KMC operations and ensures the strongest protections for workers and our community. Now is the time to work on the ordinance.
Click here to read more. (PDF)

Layoffs at KMC down 90%

Our team met with the County and the CEO and we are very happy with the direction of KMC. Because we stood united, our efforts helped to reduce the number of layoffs at the hospital by more than 90%. MSTs and Respiratory Therapists are no longer on the layoff list. We also stood up for better wages for Medical Assistants. The CEO has now agreed to work with us to revise the Medical Assistant classifications from salary range 43 to 48 and salary range 45 to 49. MAs were being significantly underpaid for the vital work they do every day. By standing together and supporting the best services for our community, we were able to make this happen.
Click here to read more. (PDF)

Hospital Authority Bill moves to governor’s desk

The Hospital Authority Bill has cleared both the Assembly and the Senate and now moves to the Governor’s desk. Governor Brown is expected to sign the bill and then we’ll move into the process of designing the county ordinance that actually creates the Authority. We have an amazing framework in place, but we still have a lot of work to do. Many rights and protections have been locked in with the bill but the ordinance could still limit our ability to help the community and build a stronger Kern County and KMC. In order to thrive in the new healthcare environment, we need the expertise and knowledge of every person in our hospital.
Click here to read more. (PDF)

SEIU Members push KMC to follow process

At the Board of Supervisors meeting on Aug. 11, the Board approved the layoff of 36 employees at KMC. At this Board Meeting, SEIU’s Regional Director Ernest Harris spoke in defense of the employees and asked that the Board pull the agenda item on layoffs as the Employer has not completed the meet and confer process with the Union. Under the Meyers-Milias Brown Act (MMBA), KMC has an obligation to meet and confer over the impact of layoffs prior to granting their approval.
Click here to read more. (PDF)

Kern Medical Center saved this man’s life

Kern Medical Center (KMC) is an irreplaceable asset for all Kern County. Just listen to resident Robert Purdie describe how the public hospital saved his life:

As county leaders wrestle with financial issues at KMC, SEIU 521 front-line workers are stepping up to help identify strategies that would strengthen KMC for the next generation.

Read about the Hospital Authority bill (PDF) workers helped draft that would protect union contracts and also put the community first by prioritizing quality patient health.

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Saving KMC for Our Community: Join Us!

We established a work group to provide our insights and expertise to help the Board of Supervisors make the best possible decisions about the future of Kern Medical Center (KMC). KMC workers’ input will be critical. Add your voice now and let’s work to save KMC for our community!


June 20, 2014 Update: 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.

What’s Next?
Our SEIU Member Leadership will continue meeting with the CEO and elected officials to make sure we’re focused on workers and putting our community first. Come to the next membership meeting on Wednesday, July 1, at 3:30 p.m. in Room 1065 to learn more!

Important meeting for all patient care techs and medical assistants

KMC-meeting-20140630-wWhen: Monday, June 30, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Room 1058

Agenda items to include:
Changes in Classifications
Come and share your ideas on the creation of these new classifications.
See you there!

June 18, 2014 Update – Leadership Team addresses impacts
Our Leadership Team is working to minimize the impact of the layoffs at KMC.
More of us need to stand up and get involved. Don’t let the future of KMC be up to someone else. Get involved and help put our Community First!

June 12, 2014 Update – Layoffs hit KMC
While we work through the impact and try to find spots for members, we’ll continue to fight for our hospital and our community.

June 10, 2014 Update – KMC begins to explore merger
KMC might merge with Kern Health Systems to create a Kern County Health Authority.

June 6, 2014 Update – Did you miss the tele-town hall?
If you missed the tele-town hall on June 5, you missed some important updates concerning KMC.
Click here to listen to the audio recording and learn more.

Pick up the phone on June 5
For the latest updates on changes at KMC  and the county, SEIU Local 521 members are invited to participate in a town hall via telephone on Thursday, June 5 at 6 p.m.
Make sure we have your phone number – that is how we call you and “patch” you into the live conversation on June 5. Enter your contact info here.

Next Membership Meeting: Wednesday, June 4, 3:30 p.m.
Kern Medical Center, Room #1065
All Kern Medical Center Employees are encouraged to attend.

Community First @ KMC – Newsletter
Community First @ KMC – June 2014 (PDF)

May 12, 2014 Update – SEIU members highlight Community First at KMC
SEIU Local 521 members spoke at the Board of Supervisors’ special meeting to highlight the healthcare needs of the community and talk about how important Kern Medical Center (KMC) is to our healthy future. The purpose of the meeting today was to create governance guidelines for Kern Medical Center.

May 9, 2014 Update – KMC Tele-Town Hall draws hundreds
Nearly 300 workers joined a conference call on May 8 to hear the latest news on KMC.
Find out more, and what’s next…

What is a Hospital Authority?
Click here to read the fact sheet (PDF)

May 8, 2014 Update – What’s Happening?
Listen to the audio recording of the May 8 tele-town hall.
There has been a lot in the news about KMC recently. KMC CEO Russell Judd held a series of meetings. We’ve been signing up for committees and getting active in taking real responsibility for the future of our hospital. On Monday, May 12, there will be a six-hour special meeting at KMC to look at the road ahead.
What’s Next?
Educational Workgroup Meeting:
Wednesday, May 14, 3:30-4:30 p.m., KMC Room 1065
KMC Cafeteria drop-in table: Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

April 29, 2014 Update: Supervisors and CEO talk layoffs. We must stand up for services that put our community first. Meeting today in 1065 at 3:30 p.m. Click here for more info. (PDF)

AprKMC Flyer - April 3 Finalil 3, 2014 Update: County staff and community partners do amazing work at KMC health fair
Congratulations to  all the members who participated from multiple county departments to make the “last chance” health fair at KMC on March 29 a success. Families received free health screenings and enrollment counseling to sign up for quality, affordable health coverage through Covered CA .

March 19, 2014 Update: KMC Management Inc. recently was awarded another $4.2 million in its contract with Kern County to manage Kern Medical Center. CAO Russell Judd’s modified contract shows that part of his bonus is tied to cutting jobs at KMC. Here’s the official contract (PDF). On page 6, you can see that the “FTE reduction plan” is due on June 30.
Join the KMC Community First team and get involved in our future.

March 11, 2014 Update: KMC CEO says we are overstaffed

Management’s focus on squeezing the hospital will only hurt our capacity and community.
Fill out your Quality Patient Care input card now!

“We need to make sure that quality patient care isn’t lost in all the talk of formulas and quotas. Our effort to strengthen KMC has reduced the billing cycle and cut our unpaid patient levels by 95 percent. Now is the time to focus on expanding services and improving quality as we continue to put our community first. If we don’t speak up now, we might not be here later.”
– Jeff Rockholt, RN

Community Health Fair on March 1, 2014
KMC staff helped out at the health fair on March 1, 2014. We’re putting Community First!
See photos on Facebook.

Feb. 11, 2014 Update: Deficits continue at KMC and our jobs and vital services are at stake!

At the Feb 10. KMC Board meeting, the Board of Supervisors and Russell Judd for the first time began discussing layoffs at the hospital . KMC CFO Sandy Martin is now projecting an additional $7 million to $18 million dollars added to the deficit over the coming six months.

We’ve been saying all along that we must prepare KMC for change, but that change must include investments – not just cuts. We must invest in the hospital and the community by improving services and providing additional training and support for workers.

But management is still not getting the message that we are the solution.

Jan. 17, 2014 Update

Our latest meeting of the KMC Community Coalition was very successful. As we organize inside the hospital, we will also be working with the community have their voices heard as well. We’ve had a number of agencies and members of the public respond and ask how they can help save KMC for our community. SEIU Local 521 members who work at other public agencies like Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) have stepped up as well, bringing insight into how the different chapters can further support each other’s missions.

“It’s great to have so many people from different parts of our community come together for the common good. Everyone knows the importance of KMC to our community and we’re all going to do our part to make sure that KMC is stronger than ever.”
– Rosie Kidwell, Program Specialist II at KMC

Jan. 9, 2014 Update

Our organizing is paying off and our voices are being heard. On Monday, Jan. 6, we had a meeting with the new CEO Russell Judd and talked about our concerns and the way forward for KMC.

Chief Shop Steward Carmen Morales-Board strongly articulated the point that we need to put the community first and the CEO agreed. After the meeting, she said, “It was a good first meeting and he’s ready to listen. It’s up to us now to organize and make sure that our expertise is brought to the table.”

Let’s keep moving forward with our plan and work to save KMC!

First KMC meeting on Dec. 12, 2013

The KMC Community First Coalition had our first meeting on Dec. 12, 2013 and have agreed to move forward with our adopted mission of strengthening our public hospital. Participants included UFW Foundation, United Domestic Workers and representatives from elected officials. The group will be meeting again in January and look forward to having more allies joining our work to put Community First and strengthen KMC.

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