Dear Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,
Thank you for being an integral part of our community.
I’m sorry that the West Hollywood City Council did not give due diligence to the special needs of the health care industry when grouping Cedars-Sinai Medical Center under the Hotel Worker Ordinance.
Cedars-Sinai deserved an exemption from the Hotel Worker/Minimum wage ordinance until the concerns raised by the Cedars-Sinai representatives were digested and discussed.
I’m sorry to watch the primary health-care institution serving our residents get ignored. How did Cedars-Sinai Medical Center get dragged into the Hotel Worker Ordinance?
I’m sorry that our City Council does not understand the unintended consequences of their decision.
And I’m sorry about the comments made by those in the community, including some readers on our comment boards, that demean and vilify the success of a medical institution which most of us are proud to have in our back yard.
At the last City Council meeting, Cedars-Sinai’s important voice was reduced to a two-minute public comment to explain the complexities of the health care system. But more shocking was how Councilmember D’Amico pushed back.
“The very suggestion that you would come to this council and ask us to exempt you from this ordinance is incomprehensible to me,” D’Amico said. But you did.
Isn’t that what public comment is for?
D’Amico was asking Cedars to update its systems to carry out an onerous rule imposed on health care workers.
If Cedars has an office in Los Angeles and a lab in West Hollywood, the driver will have to record the time in West Hollywood for extra benefits, sick leave and paid vacation.
One by one, 16,000 hospital workers will need to clock any time spent in West Hollywood. Employees will be forced to wear tracking devices to clock time. Their liberties will be compromised. It’s a rule that does not apply to UCLA Medical Center or other major hospitals in Los Angeles. Why are we classifying health-care workers who make fantastic wages and benefits with housekeepers at hotels? Using the ‘workers’ rights’ to victimize the employer and conflating workers’ rights to council rules is pretty off the point. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center pays top wages to lure top talent. They do not need the city council meddling in their business model of providing care with excess regulations.
Mayor Pro Tem Shyne followed D’Amico, Mayor Meister followed, then Councilmembers Erickson and Horvath. Cedars-Sinai’s concerns were never mentioned. They deserved better treatment, respect, and to have their concerns discussed and debated.
The collaboration between the City of West Hollywood and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has always worked hand in hand to lift our community.
Cedars-Sinai is the largest employer in the City of West Hollywood, employing over 16,000 workers. Cedars has offices and buildings in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. The rush to push this item forward did not take into account the unique needs of Cedars Sinai, nor the costs of implementation. Zero Cedars-Sinai employees spoke to this item. Zero received notice. Instead this council vilified ‘profit’, which is less than 8% of total revenue during a peak year of Covid. Cedars deserved more time and understanding from councilmembers who know less about health care than hotels. Listen to what the Cedars-Sinai representatives told the City Council:
“Health care crises do not provide advance notice, Cedar is level one trauma center, the highest level possible, and we stand ready 24/7 to care for trauma patients, New administrative burdens from the ordinance will have the unintended consequences of limiting our ability to act quickly and effectively whether that is staffing or construction or operation of temporary facilities to care covid patients, or meeting the moment to provide comprehensive trauma care to comply with systems practices by ordinance we would have to replace systems by July 1. “
Are you listening?
Mylene Brooks, Vice President and Assistant Counsel and Labor Relations, spoke to the City Council during public comment as the ordinance was finalized. Brooks noted, “if applied to Cedars-Sinai and other health care providers the ordinance could jeopardize the safety of patients, employees and the community at large.”
Are you listening?
This item that can affect the health and welfare of patients and employees and was reduced to a public comment. There was no thoughtful analysis how this hotel worker ordinance affects the health care industry.
Brooks continued “We are a complex and dynamic healthcare system in which clinical and non-clinical service workers move about the health systems locations and community settings like parks and schools to provide care to approximately 2 million patients a year including vaccine clinics and health screenings. The ordinance would require that we manually track and record time by our clinicians and support staff who provide services in West Hollywood.
” The ordinance is inconsistent with existing state and local leave laws and thus Cedars=Sinai’s current policies. This ordinance appears to be modeled after the L.A. city-wide hotel worker minimum wage ordinance but we do not operate like a single location hotel.”
In life or death situations emergency reponder should not be burdened with ‘time spent in West Hollywood’. They should not have to park their ambulances outside our city boundaries to save cost. You can bet when Cedars-Sinai is choosing where to expand that these added regulations will discourage growing into West Hollywood.
Cedars invests in our community in so many ways. Yet, some city council members belittle a profit margin, other commenters say raise the price of the aspirin. It’s not the cost of the aspirin, it’s the cost of the nurses and doctors making a reasonable wage, $100k, of perhaps $50 per hour and it cost them 15 minutes to give you that aspirin and all the paperwork and regulations.
Thank you again Cedars Sinai for all you do. Most of us in West Hollywood appreciate you. I wish we developed policies that you could applaud as good ideas to improve Public Safety. Our City Council thinks they know how to run hospitals, hotels and the sheriff department.
Thank you Cedars-Sinai. Thank you for supporting the Disability Heath Fair that is sponsored by the Disability Advisory Board. Thank you for standing up during Covid to fight the pandemic to protect us all. Thank you for always partnering with West Hollywood during Pride and Halloween to make sure we have a quick response mechanism. Thank you for writing off millions of dollars per year providing services for those who cannot afford it. Thank you for being one of the best health care institutions in the world and for taking care of so many of us.