Press Release

Millinocket Regional Hospital Nurses Hold Rally to Highlight Patient Care, Nurse Retaliation Issues

Registered nurses at Millinocket Regional Hospital (MRH) will hold an informational picket on Monday, July 31 to protest the hospital administration’s continued refusal to address ongoing patient safety concerns—including a variety of safe staffing issues—and their heavy-handed attempts to silence nurses, the Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (MSNA/NNOC) announced today.

“Millinocket Regional Hospital was built by working people in this community to care for the ill and the vulnerable. This is our community hospital and nurses are not going to remain silent while the new administration attempts to provide care with inadequate staff and resources,” said Monique Babineau, RN.

What: Informational Picket for Patient Safety at Millinocket Regional Hospital
When: Monday, July 31, 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Where: Millinocket Regional Hospital, 200 Somerset Steet, Millinocket ME 04462

Patient safety and unsafe staffing concerns have been the number one priority of the RNs since the new hospital administration was put in place two years ago, say nurses. RNs have been demanding that the hospital’s staffing matrix enable the provision of all of services dictated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The current matrix does not provide appropriate coverage to all patients in the event of a code (when a patient goes into cardiac or respiratory arrest), a rapid response situation, or other complicated admissions where the majority of staff needs to respond and leaves the remaining patients vulnerable.  Other short staffing issues have also lead to concerns over staff and visitor safety.

Nurses, represented by the MSNA/NNOC have been in contract negotiations since March to address these serious patient safety concerns. Rather than work to rectify the issues, say nurses, management has threatened to illegally increase the cost of health benefit premiums to nurses only, beginning August 1, while the rest of the employees would not have an increase. To date, two registered nurses out of 33 bedside RNs at the hospital have put in their notice, due to this threat.

A federal mediator attended the last negotiation session on Monday, July 17, 2017 where no agreement was reached. Nurses say the informational picket on July 31 will allow them a chance to get the word out to the community about patient safety concerns, as they continue to stand strong together and advocate for the hospital administration to address safe staffing issues.

“This is an outrageous move by the hospital administration to use intimidation tactics in order to silence nurses’ concerns about patient safety and patient advocacy,” said Babineau. “Our patients and our practice are too important to use these intimidation tactics on nurses.”