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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Statement from Kaiser Permanente Regarding Proposed Closing of Pediatrics Unit

From Colleen McKeown, Senior Vice President and Area Manager, Kaiser Permanente Greater Southern Alameda Area

CALIFORNIA-(ENEWSPF)- Kaiser Permanente is making a significant, $2 billion investment in the health, economy, and well-being of Alameda County and the East Bay with the building of two new medical centers in Oakland and San Leandro—each set to open in 2014 with new hospitals, expanded services, and 24-hour emergency services open to the community. Both new hospitals will have labor and delivery units and Level 3 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

As part of our plans, we are expanding pediatric services with new offices in San Leandro, adding to pediatric services already located in Hayward, Fremont, Oakland, and Alameda, where families will continue to get pediatric care and see specialists in cardiology, neurology, infectious disease, developmental and behavioral medicine, and more. Most of the pediatric care we provide is in these outpatient settings.

Relative to hospital care, the inpatient pediatric census in our Hayward hospital for children under a year old through age 14 is quite low, averaging just four patients per day. National studies show that higher patient volume is an important factor related to quality care. Building the new inpatient pediatrics center of excellence in Oakland, which will serve a high enough volume of patients, will enable Kaiser Permanente to bring our resources, expertise, and specialization together, in one place, to care for this special population.

We are disappointed in the nurses’ union’s reaction to our plans, since for Kaiser Permanente members this is an extremely positive development that will enhance the quality of care for children and families. We recognize this change will eventually affect some nurses’ assignments and we have communicated to our nurses that any nurse in Hayward affected by this change will have the opportunity to continue working at Kaiser Permanente. We look forward to engaging in discussions with the nurses’ union about these opportunities.

As hospital care for children is increasingly specialized, the construction of our two new medical centers has given us the opportunity to enhance our inpatient pediatric care accordingly. In contrast to the current inpatient pediatric census in Hayward, the Oakland Medical Center will have up to 35 beds for children and an expanded 12-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit—a high enough volume of patients to enable us to provide greater expertise and specialization in one place. The new inpatient pediatric center in Oakland will be one of the most comprehensive in the Bay Area, with specialized physicians, pediatric sub-specialists, surgeons, and nurses using the latest technology and equipment designed specifically for pediatrics. The center will house a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and a pediatric hospital ward with private rooms and activity spaces designed with children’s needs in mind.

When the Oakland Medical Center opens and the Hayward hospital closes in 2014, children in the area who are KP members will go to the new inpatient pediatric center at Oakland if they need to be hospitalized. There they will receive the depth and breadth of pediatric care that rivals that of many dedicated children’s hospitals.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to the health and well being of our members and the communities we serve. We are proud to be investing in our communities in order to provide the wide range of quality care and services children need to be as healthy as possible.

Related: Children’s March to Protest Kaiser Hayward Closure of Vital Pediatrics Unit

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