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Nurses Plan Bake Sale to Raise Money for Wheelchairs and Supplies for MedStar Washington Hospital

National Nurses United Press Release, 6/13/14

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MedStar Washington Hospital registered nurses, affiliated with National Nurses United, will conduct a bake sale on Monday to raise funds to help the hospital purchase working wheelchairs and other basic supplies.

Nurses working at the region’s largest medical center have reported a critical shortage of basic equipment and supplies that are needed to adequately care for patients.

What:         Nurses’ Bake Sale To Raise Money for Wheelchairs and Basic Supplies

When:        Monday, June 16th at 8 am

Where:       At the corner of First St. and Irving St. NW, Washington DC

In the last year that figures are available (FY 2011), the hospital grossed over $1.1 billion in revenue. Additionally, MedStar Health, the hospital’s parent corporation, paid CEO Kenneth Samet over $6.1 million in FY 2011 while MedStar’s largest hospital went without enough adequate working wheelchairs that can be purchased for around $250 each.

“Nurses routinely transport patients in broken wheelchairs, if we can find a wheelchair at all,” said Stephen Frum, RN and the NNU nurse representative. “We feel that this reflects poorly on the hospital and impedes the care that nurses are attempting to deliver. We have attempted to address this issue with management several times to no avail so we are taking extraordinary measures.”

While nurses and patients go without basic supplies, MedStar Health is spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals a ruling of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB recently ordered the hospital to turn over staffing and patient safety data to registered nurses who are attempting to improve conditions for patients at the hospital. Rather than provide the data and work with nurses to improve patient safety, management has appealed the ruling, to the detriment of patient care.

“MedStar’s decision to spend tens of thousands of dollars to appeal the NLRB’s decision to order the company to provide us with basic patient safety data is one more indicator of its misplaced priorities,” said Frum. “It is our job to advocate for our patients and maintain the dignity of each patient under our care. While management may not be focusing on basic patient needs, nurses certainly are.”

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