Nurses Petition to St. Vincent Management on Safety Issues

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WORCESTER – A delegation of Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) members at St. Vincent Hospital will deliver a petition, signed by more than 80 percent of nurses, to the hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson and Chief Nursing Officer Denise Kvapil on Wednesday.

Delivery of the petition follows an announcement by the MNA on Jan. 31 that nurses had filed over 600 official reports with the Department of Public Health Division of Healthcare Quality, Joint Commission (which accredits acute care hospitals), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Mass. Board of Registration in Nursing.

Those reports allege deficiencies in staffing, hospital policies, allocation of technology, delays in the administration of needed medications and treatments, and several safety issues, including preventable patient deaths.

According to the MNA, hospital administration have made no effort to meet with nurse or address any of the concerns articulated on Jan. 31. MNA also says more than 50 reports have been filed since Jan. 31.

“With this petition, we are sending a powerful message to our administration that the concerns we have raised through our complaints and to the general public last month are supported and endorsed by nearly every nurse working at this hospital, and that we are united in our effort to hold them accountable for the safety and dignity of our patients and our nurses, who have sacrificed so much to provide care under the truly horrendous conditions they have created,”  said Marlena Pellegrino, RN, co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA).

The language of the petition includes:

The impact of Tenet’s practices and behavior over the last two years has been devastating by design. A hospital that once had more than 800 nurses now is staffed with around 500, with more than 250 pending vacancies.  While nurses struggle every day to keep their patients safe, Tenet management refuses to engage in any meaningful effort to recruit and retain needed nursing staff. Nurses who are recruited to the facility, particularly newly graduated nurses, end up leaving their positions, many before they even finish their orientation.

The MNA represents  nurses in over 70 percent acute care hospitals in Massachusetts. The union says the nurses’ local union leadership hold regular meetings with hospital management at every other hospital except St. Vincent. They say the last of these meetings at St. Vincent’s was held in June 2022

MNA nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital began a strike in March 2021. It took over 300 days f9r nurses and the hospital to reach an agreement. Nurses returned to work on January 22, 2022.

Tenet Healthcare, publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and based in Dallas, Texas, operates the hospital. According to its website, it operates 480 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals, 61 acute care and specialty hospitals and approximately 110 other outpatient facilities. In the third quarter of 2023, the company reported generating $5.1 billion in revenue and $854 million in earnings, nearly a 17 percent margin.

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