September 30, 2011

Budget battle update

We now know that the administration will release an “options list” to the Legislature and public Oct. 24. The administration believes it must put all the proposed cuts on the table first before discussing alternatives, including new revenue.

So we will continue to hear bad news as all the proposals are laid out, like:
  • The Health Care Authority proposal to cut the Basic Health Plan provided by our members that is a lifeline to 35,000 citizens and the cut to interpreter services that could harm 70,000 patients;
  • And the previously discussed proposals to close wards at Western and Eastern state hospitals and all but eliminate Community Corrections supervision of offenders released from prison.
Much is being done already:
  • Our Medical Interpreter members have mobilized to save the program that is vitally important to the quality of care of patients for whom English is a second language. They and their Local 1671 devised an online action here.
  • The Corrections Union Management Communication Committee is sending out an update to all DOC members on the gravity of the problem and urging to call the governor and legislators. Some DOC members will be circulating a petition.
  • Western State Hospital members’ job action and presence at an all-staff briefing and other meetings generated a flurry of press that sparked public outrage. As KOMO TV’s Ken Schram said in awarding the administration a “Schrammie” Award:

    “Targeting the vulnerable; plotting to send violent and aggressive mentally ill patients to area nursing homes is, quite frankly, unconscionable.”
More actions are coming. Medical Lake Locals 573 and 782 will host a rally Oct. 8 to be attended by some 500 delegates to the Federation Convention meeting in Spokane. It’ll be 4:30-5:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, near Denny’s Harvest Foods in Medical Lake, 215 E. State Route 202. If you’re not a delegate but will be in the area, stop by.

Members interested in doing job actions and want some help and advice, call April Sims at 1-800-562-6002.

Remember, legislators and the governor have encouraged you to contact them with input.

So call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Tell legislators and the governor to find alternatives to the proposed cuts.

If you want to add specifics about your agency, please do so. But stress we can’t cut our way out of this problem – revenue must be part of the solution.

No comments: