Media Advisory 27 February 2011

Reference: Terrence Valen, Filipino Community Center, 415-203-0696


Nurse Witness Declines Dr. Browner’s Request to Change His Statement

On Valentine Day, February 14, Dr. Warren Browner, CEO of the 4-campus billion-dollar conglomerate California Pacific Medical Center, made a surprise visit to St. Luke’s Hospital. He went to see Ron Villanueva, one of the 3 witnesses who signed sworn statements that CPMC Vice President of Nursing Diana Karner has instructed managers not to hire Filipino or foreign graduate nurses.

Dr. Browner asked R.N. Villanueva what his concerns were regarding CPMC’s hiring policy.  R.N. Villanueva recounted a short version of the contents of his sworn statement regarding Diana Karner and Heather Sebanc.  “I shared with him how Associate Vice President of Nursing Heather Sebanc told me, “we are posting the manager position for the ICU/ED, I strongly advise you not to apply for the position.”  Furthermore, R.N. Villanueva recounted to Warner the incident in which Diana Karner told another manager Ron Rivera in his presence not to hire foreign graduate nurses.

According to R.N. Villanueva, Dr. Browner responded by asking if there is “anything we can do to change your perception?”, and if Villanueva was still interested in a management position.  Villanueva responded that he would not change his statement and that he is interested in a management position but NOT at CPMC because he would  still have to report to Diana Karner and Heather Sebanc, the two who made the discriminatory statements.

Last November 2010, representatives of Filipino community groups met with representatives of California Pacific Medical Center, specifically CPMC CEO Dr. Warren Browner and VP Diana Karner who, according to sworn testimony of 3 nurse managers, have been instructing her staff not to hire Filipino or foreign-graduate nurses.  Ron Villanueva was invited by the community groups to participate, but was barred by CPMC from joining the meeting.

“We applaud R.N. Villanueva’s courage and outright refusal to change his statement.  It shows his conviction in the truth of what happened and consistency in the sworn statements he made, but it is very disappointing to hear that no less than CPMC’s CEO is actually trying to get witnesses to “change their perception.” says Terry Valen, Director of the Filipino Community Center in San Francisco.

“Dr. Browner’s statements can easily be construed as an attempt to buy off a witness with a management position,”  he added.

CPMC Vice President, Diana Karner, continues to  deny making the discriminatory statements but has failed  to convince community groups who have demanded that  she provide her own sworn statement denying the serious allegations of racial discrimination.  Community groups also continue to demand that CPMC have a sit-down meeting with the witnesses and all parties involved and conduct a serious study of their hiring practice.  Groups are concerned that since the alleged statements were made, there has been a significant decline in the hiring of Filipino nurses at the St. Luke’s campus.

Currently, CPMC is seeking City approval to build a giant luxury hospital in San Francisco. A broad network of neighborhood-based coalitions have come together to demand guarantees for equal access for all to job opportunities and healthcare services at the new hospital.


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