The powerful California Nurses Association has put Ebola on the bargaining table in its negotiations for a new contract with Kaiser Permanente.
Contract talks have been going on for months and the nurses’ most recent demands are all about Ebola — better training, more staffing, protective gear that goes beyond what’s recommended by federal officials and even a special life insurance policy.
“We’d like to have an extra supplemental coverage, for specifically Ebola, if we were to contract Ebola while we’re at work,” says Diane McClure, a nurse at Kaiser Permanente’s hospital in Sacramento, where a patient suspected of having Ebola was treated in August. He later tested negative for the virus. (KHN is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente).
And, she says even a month after the Ebola scare at her hospital, nurses had not received any meaningful, hands-on training.
“They felt that all they had to do was pull up some [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] information online and put some flyers on the tables and in the bathroom and that was it,” says McClure, who is a member of the nurses’ bargaining team.