More than 300 members of two healthcare-focused unions in Hawaii protested in response to Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente's decision to close an ASC and discontinue gastroenterology services at Wailuku (Hawaii) Medical Office, Pacific Business News reports.
Members of Unite Here Local 5 and Hawaii Nurses & Healthcare Professionals picketed Oct. 13-14.
Kaiser Permanente was supposed to close its ASC and discontinue GI services at the medical office building Oct. 15, but has since delayed the closure. The health system is moving outpatient surgical and GI services to Maui Health. The closure will eliminate 28 positions. It's unclear whether the affected employees will be able to find work at other Kaiser locations.
The health system said it did not want to pursue the modernization costs needed to keep services at Wailuku Medical Office.
Susannah Evangelista, RN, told Pacific Business News she participated in the protest because Kaiser has done a poor job communicating with employees.
"[Kaiser] just dropped the info on us. Nobody knew what was going on, and it was a huge shocker to everyone,” Evangelista said. “Once we knew they were closing the unit, they didn’t even say why, and since, there’s been no info forthcoming from the company.”
Kaiser is exploring options with its labor partners during the delay in the ASC's closure, it told Pacific Business News.