Press Release

California Nurses Association statement on San Benito County Health Care District’s proposal to promote interim CEO, Mary Casillas

Group of 9 nurses smiling, one holds signs "Respect Nurses, Our Patients, Our Communitites

As nurses who are extremely concerned about the well-being of our community and patients at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, we are appalled and outraged that the San Benito Health Care District has chosen this time to not only consider elevating Mary Casillas’ status from interim to permanent CEO but to offer a salary that would amount to an indefensible greater than 30 percent increase in her salary since her tenure began.  

How can the district justify such a bloated salary to an inexperienced CEO who sits at the helm of a hospital in disarray, where the management teams are in chaos, nurses and other frontline workers are leaving because of poor working conditions, and the hospital is cutting benefits to those who are providing the direct care to our community?  

During Casillas’ tenure, we have seen the district file for bankruptcy, a move that nurses recognize for what it is: not a necessity, but a union-busting scheme designed to make the hospital more attractive to private buyers. This calculated and destructive action has led to an exodus in staff that hurts patient care. In addition, Casillas is now floating a plan of outsourcing hands-on care in favor of a remote care model for our vulnerable cardiac patients.

As always, we are calling on the district board to focus its energies on working with the various public entities that have indicated they are willing to work towards growing Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital and keep the facility in the hands of the community. We know how special our San Benito County community is and we look forward to a brighter future where our hospital can grow and is able to provide the highest quality of care to our patients. 

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation with 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California and nearly 225,000 RNs nationwide.