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Nurses Protest Good Samaritan Hospital Plan to Slash Vital RN Positions and Undermine Patient Safety

California Nurses Association Press Release, 11/25/13

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Candlelight Vigil – Today 5pm – 8pm
Hospital Falsely Claims Action Mandated by ACA/Affordable Care Act  
 

Nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital will conduct a candlelight vigil today to alert the public to concerns over proposed cuts to critical hospital staff. The hospital plans to eliminate the position of charge nurse, who is responsible for overseeing the flow of the unit and troubleshooting patient care issues, the California Nurses Association, who represents RNs at the facility, announced today. There are currently 52 charge nurses, who are among the most experienced and seasoned RNs in the unit.

Hospital officials  stated in a letter that the restructuring will be implemented to meet "accountability reqirements" under the ACA (Affordable Care Act). "The ACA contains no provisions that compel or even suggest that hospitals should fire key staff who are critical to patient safety," said Sussette Nacorda, the chair of Good Samaritan’s professional practice committee and a charge nurse with more than 30 years of service at the hospital. The California Nurses Association (CNA), that represents the RNs targeted by the proposed policy, has made a formal information request to Good Samaritan Hospital seeking its source for the claim that the ACA requires this move.  To date no response has been received.

Management wants to replace the represented charge nurses with non-union department supervisors, so they can move forward with more aggressive cuts to skilled and other personnel without interference from charge nurses, who play the primary role in safeguarding patient care standards, nurses say. CNA-represented nurses are protected from retaliation by their collective bargaining agreement. Other hospital staff, including younger nurses, nursing assistants, and technicians, depend on their leadership to resist management efforts to lower the quality of patient care in the name of cost cutting by decreasing staff levels, including the use of highly skilled and experienced RNs.  
 
What: Nurses Candlelight Vigil
When: Today, Nov. 25, 2013, from 5pm-8pm
Where: 616 Witmer Street (between 6th and Wilshire) across from main entrance of Good Samaritan Hospital

 
“The younger nurses look to us for guidance on patient advocacy – when and how to speak up,” said postpartum charge nurse, Fran De Leon, RN, who has more than 16 years service at the hospital. “Independent charge nurses are the canary in the coalmine for patient safety – if they eliminate us, we fear for the safety of our patients,” said De Leon. “This new supervisor position will not be able to advocate without fear of reprisal, and our patients will suffer.”
 
RN Criselda Masisado, a Charge Nurse in Good Samaritan's Medical Surgical unit since 1989, expressed surprise that management would try to use the Affordable Care Act as cover for this plan. "They’re scrambling to find some defense for an indefensible decision,” said Masisado.
 
The California Nurses Association has filed an unfair labor practice charge at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and is asking the NLRB to seek an injunction in federal court to stop the management plan. CNA has also asked Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, the government official chiefly responsible for interpretation and implementation of the ACA, to contact Good Samaritan Hospital officials for an explanation of the ACA claim.

 

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