Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Sources: Hospitals opt to cancel elective procedures and discharge patients ahead of possible nurses’ strike

NEW YORK — Time is running out, with only five days left until New York City nurses are likely to go on strike at seven major local hospitals, but the nurses’ union says all those hospitals are open to talks Wednesday. were not on the table.

Hospital sources told our affiliate network NBC New York that starting Thursday, hospitals will begin “decreating” their facilities in preparation for a possible strike. That means they will begin canceling elective procedures, including some very major procedures, and medically discharging patients as soon as possible in an effort to make up the patient count.

In addition, sources familiar with the situation said that Mount Sinai Hospital has requested that the FDNY divert ambulances from one of its premises in anticipation of the strike. However, that diversion has yet to happen and it was unclear whether the fire department had approved the hospital’s request.

The nurses have said that there has been some progress at some of the bargaining tables where the hospitals are negotiating with their respective nurses, but not enough to stop the strike yet. It was not immediately clear why the hospitals were taking a break from talks, which were looming, and responses provided by the hospitals to NBC New York were vague. Meanwhile, the nurses have said they want the talks to continue round-the-clock, should the need arise.

Nurse Nancy Hagans said, “Nurses feel neglected and disrespected by their bosses.” “We hold dying patients’ hands, we set up final FaceTime calls so dying patients can say goodbye to their loved ones.”

Seven private hospitals (Montefiore, Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, Maimonides, BronxCare, Richmond University Medical Center, and Flushing Hospital Medical Center) are on strike notice as of the morning of January 9, a move that has already been met with busy Hospitals are in full crisis mode and potentially have a devastating impact on care.

“This could be a huge public health disaster,” Ken Raske of the Greater New York Hospital Association previously told NBC New York. He described the mood of the hospital’s directors as “extremely apprehensive”.

Each hospital negotiates with its own nurses individually, so there may be no strike at all, or seven strikes, depending on how the negotiations go.

The nurses union said there is at least one sign of progress: All the hospitals on the list except Flushing Hospital have agreed not to cut health benefits.

“There have been some offers and proposals, but we’re not there yet,” Hagans said.

As of Wednesday, all eyes are on New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the nurses there. A tentative deal was struck over the weekend which, if accepted, would see nurses get an 18 per cent raise over the next three years, with additional incentives to retain experienced nurses. There was also a promise to address the shortage of old employees, the biggest complaint of the union.

But there’s one big caveat: NY-Presbyterian is widely considered the richest hospital in the city, and not all hospitals are in the same financial position. While all the hospitals have said they are negotiating in good faith, some said they cannot afford that much, a huge problem considering that some hospital executives are paid lakhs.

Smaller, so-called “safety net” hospitals rely more heavily on lower reimbursement rates for the care they provide, such as through Medicare or Medicaid. Some others in the list say they are running short of money, but the nurses in those hospitals are not accepting this argument.

According to a source familiar with the Mount Sinai negotiations, the hospital had previously offered the nurses a deal that included a 14 percent raise over four years, a deal that was rejected by the nurses and specifically by NY-Presbyterian. was lower than the offer.

Hagans said, “It’s not really up to us if we go out. It’s up to the owners.”

While it remains to be seen whether NY-Presbyterian Nurses will accept the offer, Montefiore Hospital said Wednesday that its hospital nursing representatives had turned down a deal that mirrored the one offered by NY-Presbyterian. Is. A spokeswoman for the hospital said the nurses were offered “an 18 percent pay raise over three years, fully funded lifelong healthcare and a significant increase in RNs in emergency departments,” among other benefits.

Looking at the financial point of view, this development can become a problem for other hospitals. According to a Montefiore spokesman, NY-Presbyterian is expected to post a profit of $200 million in 2022, while Montefiore will post a loss of $200 million. Such a deal was deemed potentially unacceptable to the other hospitals on the list, but now NY-Presbyterian nurses may think twice about ratifying the deal they tentatively agreed to (voting began Tuesday night and ended Saturday).

Gov. Cathy Hochul’s office previously said they were “monitoring the situation.” The sources said both Hochul and New York Mayor Eric Adams receive regular daily updates on the talks. While the hospitals involved are all private, meaning that neither Hochul nor Adams have a formal role, some have wondered whether they will step in to lobby or try to broker a settlement.

Our affiliate network NBC New York has learned that other hospitals that haven’t settled on their nursing staff are beginning to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars in non-refundable down payments to keep temps on standby, a cost they may consider too high. Should be taken Even if there is no strike.

The GNYHA said that doing so is against the interests of the nurses in the union because it forces hospitals to spend money that could have gone to the nurses, but it also increases the nurses’ influence once the strike notice is issued . One nurse involved in the talks estimated the cost of commercial nurses at approximately $10,000 per week per travel nurse. The New York State Nurses Association estimated that the mere threat of a strike has already cost temp agencies $32 million, a cost they say could exceed $90 million if rotating nurses were forced to work for five or six days. Had to take his place during , ,

“Our ER is backed up, tripledemic is raging,” Raske said. “Even if one hospital goes on strike, it can affect the whole system.”

The New York State Nurses Association, which has 12,000 members, is threatening strike action at the seven associated hospitals where contracts expired on December 31.

The union says members are upset about the staffing ratio at local hospitals, contract proposals they feel will limit their health care benefits (while paying executives large bonuses), and Mayor Adams’ recent forced outing of psychiatric patients. It has been decided to admit him to the hospital. All of those elements have left employees overworked and fatigued.

Allen said, “We can’t clean the patient in time, we can’t give the medicine in time, there is no brake.” “The burnout was real, so we quit and went to work for a travel agency that was going to pay us more.”

In a statement Monday, a Mount Sinai spokesman said its bargaining teams “continue to make good faith efforts to secure a contract with NYSNA that is fair to our community and our organization’s long-term financial interests.” responsible for health. “. Mount Sinai’s nurses deserve the best possible work environment, pay and benefits, and we work tirelessly for the benefit of all of our employees.”

The statement said the hospital system is “prepared for the personnel change, and we will make every effort to ensure that care for our patients is not interrupted and we will do everything possible to minimize inconvenience to patients.” “

The median salary for nurses in New York is $93,000 and $98,000 in New York City, the nurses’ union and GNYHA confirmed. However, there is a wide disparity between the salaries of nurses in private and public hospitals, with salaries about $20,000 less.

All of this is happening at a time when the city is grappling with what is being called a tridemic: simultaneous spikes in severe, COVID-19 infections, the flu and the respiratory condition RSV.

The city has already issued a notice (but not a mandate) suggesting that people return to wearing masks indoors.

Nation World News Desk
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