Press Release

Nurses to Hold Palomar Vigil Thursday to Oppose Cuts

For Immediate Release
July 20, 2011
Palomar-Pomerado Health District registered nurses will hold a candlelight vigil Thursday night outside Palomar Medical Center to voice opposition to cuts in nursing assistants and other direct-care staff that they say is causing dangerous and widespread patient care delays.

The hospital district is in the process of implementing expensive new technology – intended to impress Wall Street investors according to an internal memo leaked to the press – that the nurses say has caused patient care delays.

The memo said the goal is to improve the hospital’s bond rating, but the impact on patient care, along with cuts PPH is making in layoffs of nursing assistants, undermines what should be the district’s core mission, quality patient care, say the RNs.

What: Candlelight Vigil
When: Thursday, July 21
Time: 6:30 – 7:45 p.m.
Where: Palomar Medical Center
555 East Valley Parkway, Escondido(@ corner of Grand Ave.)

The vigil follows a protest by nurses, physicians, other hospital employees, and community members at a PPH board meeting earlier this month. DeAnn McEwen, RN, co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, will speak at the vigil.
Patient ratios for nursing assistants at PPH are often 50 percent higher than those at neighboring hospitals. PPH was cited and fined by the California Department of Public Health last June for the death of a patient for refusing to provide for a sitter, despite requests by nursing staff.  
Cuts are being made despite the fact that the public hospital made $24.5 million last year and is on target to make $27 million this year. According to an internal memorandum to hospital managers just made public, PPH CEO Michael Covert is one of the highest-paid public employees in California, with salary and bonuses driving his annual compensation above $1 million.
Additionally, residents of Ramona and Valley Center are concerned over PPH’s broken promise to voters to build a 36,000-square foot clinic in the underserved/rural region of the district. PPH instead has gone back on its commitment, with plans to build only 6,000 square feet.