Kaiser Permanente confirms 530 layoffs in Southern California

A Kaiser Permanente building on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood on November 17, 2012.
A Kaiser Permanente building on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood on November 17, 2012.
Tony Pierce / KPCC

Kaiser Permanente - one of the nation's largest HMOs - will lay off 530 employees in Southern California this weekend, including some in the Inland Empire, a company official has confirmed.

Kaiser Permanente said the layoffs – covering less than one percent of its staffing – will be spread across its 65,700 employee workforce in offices and hospitals from Kern County to the Mexican border. The HMO serves nearly 3.5 million members in Southern California.

A company spokeswoman could not provide exact layoff locations, noting that some of the affected employees may be offered other vacant positions within the company. Many may also be rehired next year, when Kaiser Permanente expects “significant membership growth.”

A union official told the Inland Daily Bulletin that the laid-off employees will be able to take advantage of a retraining and education program that will keep them paid and insured for up to one year.

Union officials first heard of the coming round of layoffs in late October when 84 non-union Kaiser Permanente workers received notices.

In a statement, Kaiser Permanente said health care in America is in the midst of “exciting and challenging” times, and that the company had undertaken cost-reduction initiatives – including layoffs - to ensure it could meet “these changing dynamics.”

“It is important to note that none of these position eliminations will in any way jeopardize the quality of patient care, which is always our primary focus,” the corporate statement said.

The Kaiser Permente layoffs come as the health care industry implements provisions of the federal Affordable Health Care Act, commonly called “Obamacare.”