Hazel Hawkins nurses demand the hospital and county commit to maintain a full-service hospital without cuts to staffing and that preserves the community’s access to care
Nurses to address San Benito Health District at Wednesday district meeting
Registered nurses at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital (Hazel Hawkins) in Hollister, Calif., are demanding that the hospital and county commit to maintain a full-service hospital without cuts to staffing and that preserves the community’s access to care. The nurses will bring their demands to the San Benito Health Care District Board of Directors meeting this Wednesday, Dec. 21, announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU).
“It feels like we are watching a train crash and no one knows how to work the brakes,“ said Diane Beck, a Hazel Hawkins RN. “This current fiscal crisis is the result of irresponsible mismanagement by the hospital administration. Now we are hearing that the hospital administration is considering cuts to staff and even possible closure. These are unacceptable. The solution cannot be further cuts to staffing and services that will jeopardize safe patient care. It is imperative that the hospital administration be transparent about how we ended up on the precipice of closing so we can work together on a future that will ensure Hazel Hawkins remains open to provide a full range of critical health care services to our community.”
“Our patients and the community need to know that the hospital administration continues to deflect scrutiny even as they call for support from other governmental entities,” said Courtney Parrinello, RN. “We must have those who are sworn to protect and oversee this publicly funded hospital ask the tough questions so we can find appropriate and responsible remedies. The nurses and patients deserve a hospital administration that will prioritize serving the community over cost-cutting measures to patient care.
- What: RNs demand transparency as Hazel Hawkins administration warns of possible layoffs or hospital closure
- When: Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, 5:00 p.m.
- Where: Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, 911 Sunset Drive, Hollister, Support Services Building -- Great Room -- 2nd Floor
Hazel Hawkins is the only hospital in Hollister, a city of 43,000 people, and serves all of San Benito County. Last year, the hospital’s emergency room treated more than 21,000 patients.
Any cutbacks of services or the hospital’s closure would have a catastrophic impact on the community.
Nurses understand that the hospital is now looking to outside agencies and governmental sources, such as San Benito County, to get additional funding to keep the hospital open. But nurses say that even as the hospital is making these requests, it is not being transparent about how the hospital found itself in such dire financial straits.
“It is imperative that the hospital administration be as transparent as possible with the public and to all those from whom they are looking for funds,” said Diane Mulcahy, RN. “We understand the hesitancy and concerns of any party who is being asked to support the hospital without a full accounting as to what led to this dire situation.”
Nurses are also extremely concerned that hospital administration has indicated it will review the purchasing of supplies and is considering layoffs. Already, nurses are experiencing a shortage of supplies, including appropriate isolation gowns. Lack of appropriate gowns puts patients and staff at risk for infectious disease, such as Covid or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Nurses are concerned that direct patient service positions may be reduced or eliminated. They note nurses and others are already struggling to provide the best care possible with the limited ancillary staff currently employed by the hospital. Nurses warn further cuts would jeopardize patient care and instead encourage the administration to look at any redundancies in their executive ranks as they consider adjustments to staffing or compensation.
California Nurses Association represents 120 nurses at Hazel Hawkins.
The 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.