Press Release

Mission Hospital nurses applaud Attorney General Josh Stein for lawsuit against HCA

Two nurses standing with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein holding signs "Staff Up for Safe Patient Care"

Registered nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., applaud North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein for filing a lawsuit today against HCA for violating the asset purchase agreement it made when it acquired Mission Health in 2019, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU).

The lawsuit alleges that HCA is not providing the quality, consistent emergency and cancer care it committed to deliver. Since HCA took over Mission Hospital, nurses say staffing and working conditions have deteriorated. In response to the decline in patient care conditions and resources at Mission Hospital, the nurses voted to join NNOC in September 2020 to use their voice to fight for better patient care and staffing.

Since they unionized, the RNs have filed hundreds of assignment despite objection forms (ADOs) documenting unsafe staffing and unsafe working conditions affecting patient care. The nurses have also filed complaints with the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The RNs have also held numerous protests and rallies about patient safety and chronic short staffing at the hospital, including yesterday's rally for patient safety.

Hannah Drummond, RN in the emergency department at Mission Hospital, spoke at the attorney general's press conference today. Here is an excerpt from her remarks:

“The conditions that Hospital Corporation of America have allowed to persist at Mission are shameful and unsafe. 

Just this week, when I worked a shift in triage, we had more than 10 patients per nurse, patients being admitted to the floor straight from the waiting room without ever being assessed by a nurse, patients who were unstable not being monitored on cardiac monitoring, and ambulances stuck waiting to offload patient's in the back — meaning emergency services and ambulances were unavailable in Buncombe and surrounding counties to respond to 911 calls because they were stuck.

All the while, to make more money, HCA kept its doors open to transfers even though we had 140-plus patients in our 96-bed ER already.

In our red pod, we have patients on life-supporting medications in hallway beds, unmonitored. We have had patients die in hallway beds. We have had near misses. We have reported this to management and they have done nothing. Only when DHHS or Joint Commission is in town do they make efforts to adequately staff this ER, not just with nurses, but techs, housekeeping, transporters, and more.

HCA not only promised to uphold a safe standard of care in the ER and this hospital, it also signed a contractual agreement.

It's time for this evil corporation to be held accountable.”

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 nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.