Press Release

Health care workers at Methodist Hospital of Southern California voice patient safety concerns

Arcadia health care workers hold signs "Patients First"

CHEU members to hold picket and car caravan to alert public

Health care workers at Methodist Hospital of Southern California, in Arcadia, Calif. will hold a picket and car caravan on Friday, March 26 to highlight their patient safety concerns, including short-staffing and poor infection control throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, announced Caregivers & Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU) today.

“There are times when one certified nursing assistant is assisting as many as 16 patients at once. This is not safe, and our patients could fall if we are unable to get to them as they try to get out of bed,” said Desiree Molina, a certified nursing assistant. “We are committed to our patients and want to make sure we never have more than 10 patients to help out at once, which is the policy of the hospital. The hospital must live up to this standard to ensure that our patients and the community get the care they deserve.”

What: Picket and Car Caravan for Patient Safety
When: Friday, March 26 at 8:30 a.m.
Where: 300 W. Huntington Dr., Arcadia
at the cross street of Centennial Way

CHEU members are also very concerned about the lack of appropriate infection control measures in response to Covid-19, including failure to properly train staff for caring for Covid-positive patients, failure to provide optimal personal protective equipment (PPE), and failure to notify health care workers of exposure.

“In the course of the last year, we have had too many health care workers test positive at the hospital and the administration has dropped the ball when it came to protecting the employees in many parts of the hospital”, said Declan Galvin, an ultrasound technologist. “Employees were not notified of exposures in a timely manner, it sometimes took three to four weeks before they were contacted by the hospital. Those employees were left to go home to their families for those weeks without knowing they were exposed to Covid-19. The hospital has not taken responsibility for the exposures and instead is blaming employees.”

The health care workers are calling on the hospital to create a patient care committee (PCC) which would give health care workers a voice in improving patient care, infection control concerns, and addressing retention issues.

“We are the ones doing the work, we know best how to address the problems in the hospital and what needs to be done to provide the best care possible,” said Sarkis Atchabahian, an intensive care unit technologist. “We must have a voice at the table with management and the PPC creates the framework to have these important discussions so we can better assist our patients.”

CHEU members are also calling on the hospital to abandon scheduling policies that punish employees who have been ill. Currently, the hospital demands that health care workers who have missed a weekend shift due to illness must work any shift regardless of their availability.  

“I work another job, and I have to care for my family as well, so I cannot just work any shift at the drop of a hat,” said Carlos Garcia, a certified nursing assistant. “This policy hurts families and working people who are responsible for the care of children, or their elderly and sick family members.”

CHEU represents a variety of health care workers at Methodist Hospital of Southern California, including technical employees, nursing assistants, and other hospital workers. The health care workers voted to join CHEU in January 2020.