Press Release

Nurses Release New Report, Speak Out on Ethical, Patient Care Concerns at St. Joseph Health System


(NAPA) Registered nurses from St. Joseph Health system (SJH) hospitals will gather in Napa Wednesday to officially release a new report on the serious concerns that have arisen as SJH has shifted from the values of its founding Sisters—to corporate management concerned, nurses say, with maximizing revenue at the expense of patients, RNs, taxpayers, and its own stated principles.
“As nurses, we are concerned that St. Joseph has lost its moral compass,” said RN MaryLou Bahn, of St. Joseph’s Queen of the Valley. Sharon Bryan, RN, of St. Mary’ Medical Center in Apple Valley added, “We’re witnessing a hospital system that once cared for its employees and patients evolve into a corporate entity motivated by profit.”

What:              RN Town Hall Meeting on St. Joseph Health System
When:             TODAY - Wednesday, August 19th 11am – 12:30pm
Where:            Elks Lodge, 2840 Soscol Avenue, Napa, CA

Based on the experiences of registered nurses at Queen of the Valley and other SJH hospitals, and publicly available data, the new report, “Falling From Grace: St. Joseph Health RNs Raise Ethical and Patient Care Concerns,” asserts that SJH and its hospitals have:

  • Reaped millions in tax subsidies from California taxpayers, while providing among the lowest amount of charity care of any Catholic system;
  • Invested patient care and tax subsidized funds into for-profit companies, including hedge funds in the Cayman Islands;
  • Launched a system-wide campaign to illegally restrict the rights of its RNs to organize a union to advocate for improved treatment of patients and RNs;
  • Been charged with scores of violations of federal law in the past year as a result of their anti-union campaign against their RNs;
  • Imposed sweeping cuts in disability, medical leave, and retirement security on thousands of SJH employees, while paying exorbitant executive salaries and benefits.

Elected officials and community leaders will join the SJH RNs in Napa, to support them in speaking out on these critical issues. Leaders include former California State Assemblymember and Senate candidate Mariko Yamada; Davis City Council member Dan Wolk; and John Moreno, staff for Assemblymember Bill Dodd.

The report overview will be followed by recommendations from RNs on the ways in which SJH can reaffirm a commitment to the highest standards of safe, dignified, and quality healthcare for SJH communities. 
At the time of the report’s release, SJH has recently announced a proposed merger with Providence Health & Services. Until the issues of concern adequately addressed, the California Nurses Association—which represents nearly 90,000 California RNs, including thousands employed by the two hospital chains—has announced, it cannot support the proposed merger.

“CNA has substantial concerns about the impact of the proposed merger of these two large hospital systems on patients, California taxpayers, RNs and other employees, and the affected communities,” said CNA Co-President Zenei Cortez, RN. “We are opposed to any and all mergers that don’t guarantee our patients and the community we serve a higher standard of care.”
It is this concern with the highest standard of care that has driven the report itself. And nurses say that they are looking forward to engaging with the community around solutions on Wednesday.

“When you look at St. Joseph Health system’s inflated profits through the prism of its status as the hospital system that spends the least on charity care of any other major California hospital system—it become obvious that something is wrong,” says Bahn. “Nurses are standing up and releasing this report to say that our patients deserve better.”