SILVERDALE — The union representing St. Michael’s Medical Center has launched a petition calling for the removal of the hospital’s leadership as chronic understaffing is creating an “extraordinary crisis” in Kitsap County’s only emergency room. Distributing.
Ann Minard, Communications Director for UFCW 3000 on behalf of workers, said: “There is a broken trust here and that trust needs to be repaired. “We have reached our breaking point. This petition It represents the need for accountability, and for now, the way to do that is through new leadership.”
The “final straw,” according to Minard, was when a nurse dialed a non-emergency line at a 911 dispatch center in Kitsap County in early October asking emergency responders for help in caring for a patient. A few days later, hospital officials fired the interim director of the emergency department.
According to the petition, a “controversial” strike during contract negotiations this summer was only “barely avoided” when the deal was signed.
“Healthcare workers wanted hospital administrators to learn from the experience and be sincere and serious about their commitment to serious change,” the petition said. .”
Leaders at St. Michael Medical Center, through its parent company, the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Organization, said staffing is a national hospital challenge. The hospital’s staff turnover rate is “below the national average” and, like other hospitals, it is staffing traveling nurses to meet demand, said Susan, a spokeswoman for Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. Callahan said.
“I’m delighted to have reached an agreement with the union this summer to become the highest-paid nurse in Washington State,” Callahan said.
Minard, who represents health care workers at other hospitals, said other medical facilities are also suffering from staff shortages, but St. Michael’s situation is different.
“There is an extraordinary level of crisis in this hospital,” she said.
Minard said the petition is “just the beginning” of the circular, but it already has hundreds of signatures.
The union has not decided when to file a petition with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health CEO Ketur Patel.
The petition says union leadership has exacerbated delays in salaries due to payroll errors, maintenance problems at new hospitals, and recent layoffs of workers who help keep the emergency department running smoothly. Other issues people say are listed.
Payslip errors have been “retro-corrected,” Callahan said, and employees working extra shifts may not get paid immediately because the shift occurred after payroll was complete. … apparently …
She said the hospital had no ongoing maintenance issues, and referred to one elevator at the hospital’s cancer center that was “temporarily” out of service due to “supply chain issues.”
“We recognize the inconvenience, but patient care and patient safety were not impacted,” she said.
There were fewer than 20 staff layoffs earlier this year, Callahan said, including “transporters” to move patients. she said.
“Like other hospitals in the state, we are experiencing unsustainable losses that can have a long-term impact on our ability to serve our patients,” she said. “As part of our efforts to address these challenges, we have made the difficult decision to eliminate or consolidate certain positions.”
She said patient care and frontline staff are a priority. The hospital has hired her 178 new nurses and three primary care positions in 2022.
The union also noted that the joint commission, the national medical standards group, rejected the hospital’s preliminary accreditation in September. , lists 40 “performance issues” in hospitals.
Callahan said the hospital “immediately developed and implemented an action plan” and said an update from the joint committee would soon show that the hospital was “cleared through a field investigation.”
“We are committed to providing the safest care possible for all patients and take our findings seriously for improvement,” Callahan said.
The union noted fire chiefs’ complaints about St. Michael’s sometimes seeming reluctance to divert patients to other medical centers, which led to longer delays. He said he was trying to “depressurize” the ER in ways other than diverting it to a location.
“When we divert patients, it places a burden on other hospitals in the area and tries to manage their own capacity challenges,” she said.