Press Release

Registered nurses in San Jose demand HCA improve conditions to address erosion of patient care

Pile of buttons which say "Safe staffing NOW!"

Informational pickets May 24 at Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center

Registered nurses at two HCA Hospitals in San Jose, Calif., Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center, will hold informational pickets on Tuesday, May 24, to raise awareness of chronic understaffing and high turnover rates at the hospitals, announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU), which represents RNs at the facilities.  

“HCA prioritizes profits over its responsibility to provide safe patient care,” said Maureen Zeman, a labor and delivery nurse, at Good Samaritan Hospital. “We demand that HCA comply with California’s safe-staffing laws by taking immediate action to retain and recruit the staff we need to provide quality care. With profits in the billions, HCA has the resources to uphold its moral duty to provide the best care possible to all our patients.”

  • What: HCA nurses to hold informational picket to demand safe staffing
  • When: Tuesday, May 24, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.
  • Where: Good Samaritan Hospital: 2425 Samaritan Dr, San Jose, CA 95126 — near the hospital entrance on Samaritan Dr.
  • What: HCA nurses to hold informational picket to demand safe staffing
  • When: Tuesday, May 24, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Where: Regional Medical Center: 225 N Jackson Ave, San Jose, CA 95116 — on the corner of Jackson and McKee

During the pandemic year 2021, HCA made a record profit of $6.9 billion, compared to $3.7 billion in 2020. HCA’s CEO Sam Hazen took home more than $30 million in total compensation in 2020. In April, HCA announced a new bonus program for its top executives, which would make them eligible for bonuses equivalent to 100 to 125 percent of their salary.

Yet, while HCA is making record-breaking profits, the number of RNs employed at Good Samaritan and Regional Medical Center have dropped dramatically. In the past three years, Good Samaritan has seen a 22 percent drop in staff RNs, while Regional Medical Center has seen a 33 percent drop.

RNs say the loss of nurses is due to management’s decision to continually short-staff units and the toxic workplace fostered by retaliatory management. Nurses are calling on HCA to hire more nurses to improve the quality of patient care. HCA management has responded to these calls, not by hiring staff, but by targeting and unjustly terminating nurses who are advocating for safe patient care.

“In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where we care for sick and vulnerable babies, we were told that our staffing was not meeting the hospital’s budget goals and would therefore have to change,” said Lydia Gmerek, a NICU nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital. “As a result, we have had many NICU nurses leave rather than go to work every day and be asked to put their patients’ lives at risk. HCA can and must do better.”

“Due to the chronic understaffing, nurses are working without meals and rest breaks,” said Linda Vences, a transitional care nurse at Regional Medical Center. “We know that this is bad for patients and nurses because fatigue and exhaustion increase the risk of workplace injuries and medical errors. Many new and experienced nurses have made the difficult choice to leave rather than jeopardizing their patients and their nursing license due to unsafe working conditions.”

Nurses are currently in contract negotiations with HCA. The RNs say their many proposals to address the serious retention and staffing crises have been ignored by management.

“We know there are many nurses who would come back to the bedside at our hospitals if HCA would improve the conditions,” said Mary Jean Dimapasoc, a registered nurse who has worked with Covid patients throughout the pandemic at Regional Medical Center. “Nurses are driven by their compassion to help others. They feel forced away from the bedside when they cannot provide their patients with the quality of care they deserve. If HCA addresses the issues that create an unsafe and toxic environment at the hospitals, we will attract and retain the experienced nurses we need.”

The California Nurses Association has 100,000 members and is a founding member 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. CNA/NNU plays a leadership role in safeguarding the health and safety of RNs and their patients and has won landmark legislation in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease, and workplace violence prevention.