Press Release

HCA’s Mission Hospital penalized nearly $30,000 for failing to protect nurses and other health care workers from Covid-19

Large group of nurses outside HCA’s Mission Hospital

Yesterday the Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSH) of the North Carolina Department of Labor cited and penalized HCA’s Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. nearly $30,000 for failing to protect nurses and other health care workers in the workplace, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) today.

N.C. OSH concluded its occupational health and safety investigation and issued the citations and penalties totaling nearly $30,000 to Mission Hospital for:

  1. Failing to conduct an annual fit test for employees who were required to wear an N95 respirator
  2. Failing to establish a record of employee fit testing
  3. Failing to notify the North Carolina Department of Labor of the death of an employee due to Covid-19 in a timely manner (HCA waited nearly two weeks to notify the Department of Labor of the death.)
  4. Failing to report each work-related Covid-19 inpatient hospitalization within 24 hours of learning about the hospitalization (HCA delayed notifying the Department of Labor about an employee hospitalization for more than a month.)

Since October 2021, dozens of Mission nurses participated in the interviews and walk-throughs with state OSH investigators. The RNs have also been protesting against the unsafe working conditions, including holding a speak-out in February 2022. The nurses voted to join NNOC/NNU in September 2020.

“We union nurses have been fighting for a safer workplace throughout the pandemic,” said Kerri Wilson, RN in the cardiac step-down unit at Mission Hospital. “Our workplace is safer because we spoke up, we reported safety violations, and we took the time to show OSH investigators what needed to be corrected. Because our union contract protects our ability to advocate, we know that we can play an active role in exposing the shortcomings of management.”

“We applaud the North Carolina Department of Labor for recognizing that Mission Hospital was not protecting its employees or sending timely reports about employees who were hospitalized due to Covid,” said Susan Fischer, RN in the float pool. “Mission was not ensuring that we had proper-fitting personal protective equipment. And now the hospital has been cited for failing to protect us and has made corrections.”

NNOC represents 1,500 nurses at Mission Hospital.

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with more than 175,000 members nationwide.