Reporting Anjali Hemphill
MANTECA (CBS13) – Nurses at the Kaiser in Manteca say the hospital could be on the verge of shutting down, and that’s forcing patients to drive farther away to get medical help.
Dozens of concerned members of the community and several nurses came to a Sunday meeting, upset over the services that have already been eliminated. They worry that this is just the beginning.
“Kaiser has systematically, since January, taken services away from this community; and it’s not OK,” said Ruth Somera, a registered nurse with Kaiser.
Kaiser Manteca is accused of breaking a promise to the community.
“A whole floor is closed. So that’s not an exaggeration, that’s telling me that’s the beginning of what’s to come,” said Rosemary Hekl.
Several Kaiser Manteca nurses say the hospital has cut cardiology, radiology, maternity and other vital services. It is forcing thousands of patients to travel — even rushed by ambulances — to hospitals farther away.
“It’s pretty scary and you’re waiting for awhile for them to find an ambulance and get you transferred,” said Rosie Hadley.
Hadley says she was sent by ambulance from Manteca to Modesto for a heart stint in September. That’s where she says she has to keep going now for any issue involving her heart.
“What if something is going on and there isn’t time to go to that hospital,” said Hadley.
Kaiser Manteca’s senior vice president responded to the group’s claims in a statement:
“We are aware and extremely disappointed that the California Nurses Association (CNA) is mounting a campaign against Kaiser Permanente, making exaggerated and irresponsible claims about our services in Manteca.”
The group of people at Sunday’s meeting claims Kaiser promised to keep all its services when it took over this hospital nearly a decade ago. But some patients now traveling across county lines for services say that’s not what’s happening.
“We’re here because we are concerned, and we are Kaiser members, and that’s what we want is to continue being treated here in our own town,” said Hadley.
This group plans to deliver a petition to Kaiser Manteca officials this week.
Kaiser Manteca’s vice president also said in his statement that Sunday’s “meeting is just the nurses union trying to advance their agenda in an ongoing labor dispute.