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article imageKaiser hospitals say they'll stay open if nurses strike

By Nathan Salant     Nov 8, 2014 in Health
Oakland - Kaiser Permanente pledged Friday to keep all of its Northern California hospitals open next week when nurses walk off their jobs to demand greater safety precautions against the Ebola virus.
Officials of the nonprofit healthcare company said in a message to members that some elective surgeries might have to be postponed but otherwise all of its 38 hospitals and dozens of outpatient facilities would function normally.
The cautionary message was sent in reaction to a threat by the California Nurses Association of a two-day strike to protest what it called inadequate preparation for a possible influx of Ebola cases if the virus spread.
The union has called for a strike to begin Tuesday at 7 a.m. and continue to just before 7 a.m. Thursday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. .
Nurses are concerned about the potential for them to contract Ebola, particularly since several caregivers have contracted the virus while visiting West Africa to help stop the spread of the disease and to care for patients already infected.
One U.S. caregiver has died and others have returned testing positive for Ebola.
U.S. government officials have instituted a 21-day quarantine period for people returning from the affected region.
“With the refusal of hospitals across the country to take seriously the need to establish the highest safety precautions for when an Ebola patient walks in the door, and the failure of our elected leaders in Washington to compel them to do so, America’s nurses say they have to make their voices heard a little louder,” the director of National Nurses United, RoseAnn DeMoro, said in a prepared statement.
Simnilar job actions are planned at Kaiser facilities in nine states across the country including Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
“Our infectious disease experts have fully reviewed the new CDC recommendations, and Kaiser Permanente is augmenting our personal protective equipment to meet or exceed these national standards,” said infectious disease specialist Stephen Parodi, director of Kaiser hospital operations in Northern California.
Some 18,000 nurses and nurse practitioners are expected to participate in the strike to demand stricter treatment standards and safety precauutions, the the NNU said.
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