APRIL 2 UPDATE: Mountainview Hospital has provided the following statement in response to the action taken on Wednesday night at the hospital:
"This is not a time to create conflict and dissention within healthcare organizations that are doing everything possible to protect caregivers and patients. This is the time to depend on each other, trusting that we are doing everything possible for each other to come together as HCA Healthcare Family and deliver on our mission," said Jeremy Bradshaw, CEO MountainView Hospital. MountainView Hospital, a part of HCA Healthcare, is deeply committed to protecting colleagues and our patients every day, including when faced with this unprecedented medical crisis.
We are aware that external organizations- including the NNU are speaking out on issues of PPE. It is our belief that they are adding to the confusion, misinformation and fear spreading across the industry in the United States. The truth is that we've continued to follow CDC protocols for PPE as the preemptive and global authority. While others attempt to distract or scare us, we will remain committed to keeping focus on our employees and patients.
Across the globe, this pandemic has strained the worldwide supply of PPE as COVID-19 cases and utilization of PPE exceed the ability of suppliers to manufacture PPE. This is not a challenge that is unique to MountainView Hospital, HCA Healthcare or any other hospital or health system in the United States. We have taken the following actions regarding the provision of PPE and pay for our nurses and care team:
- Enacted universal masking for all of our employees
- Appointing a PPE Steward to oversee priority deployment of PPE effective for COVID-19 where and when it is needed most
- Creating strategically located PPE distribution centers across our campuses to quickly deliver equipment
- Established pandemic pay continuation programs
Our belief is that the NNU's real motive here today has nothing to do with keeping our nurses protected but is wholly centered on the expiration of their collective bargaining agreement with us, which expired March 31. In addition, per today’s stay-at-home order from the Nevada Governor, we feel gatherings such as the NNU protests directly put our employees, hospitals and the community at large in harm’s way and is a violation of the order.
MountainView, and HCA as a whole, is doing everything it can to equip its patient care teams to provide safe, effective care to the people of Las Vegas, unwavering in our dedication to improve the health of those in our community, protect our patient care colleagues, and navigate the unique challenges presented by COVID-19.
We stand ready. We stand together."
Registered nurses at 15 HCA Healthcare hospitals in 7 states, including Nevada, will hold actions the next couple of days to protest a lack of preparedness by the nation’s largest hospital chain that they say places nurses, other staff, and patients at risk in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, announced National Nurses United (NNU) today.
NNU, which represents 10,000 RNs at 19 HCA hospitals in California, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada and Texas, is demanding that HCA provide the optimal personal protective equipment (PPE) for nurses and other staff. That means N95 respirators or the more protective powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs), and other head-to-toe coverings.
Separately, RNs at HCA’s Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. will deliver a petition to hospital managers with their concerns about hospital COVID-19 preparedness
“Nurses at various HCA hospitals are reporting that they have had to work without proper protective equipment,” said Jean Ross, RN, president of National Nurses United.
“Nurses say they are not informed when they exposed to an infected patient. They are told to unsafely reuse masks and at one hospital they are even being told not to wear masks because it ‘scared the patients.’”
“Protecting our patients is our highest priority, but it becomes much harder when we don’t have the safe protections which puts us in danger of becoming infected,” said Angela Davis, RN, Medical Intensive Care Unit, a dedicated COVID-19 unit, at Research Medical Center Kansas City, Mo. “If we are no longer able to be at the bedside, who will be there to care for our patients?”
“When we are infected no one is safe,” said Kim Smith, RN, Intensive Care Unit, also a dedicated COVID-19 unit, at Doctors Regional Hospital/Corpus Christi Medical Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. “When we are infected, we become a real danger of infecting everyone else around us, patients, hospital staff, and a risk to our own families.”
HCA can well afford to be properly prepared for the pandemic, says NNU. Over the past decade HCA has made more than $23 billion in profits. “For the wealthiest hospital corporation in the United States to show such disregard for the health and safety of its caregivers, is disgraceful and unconscionable,” said Ross.
“We are facing the gravest public health crisis in a century,” said Gary Mousseau, RN, Endoscopy, Fawcett Memorial Hospital, Port Charlotte, Fla. “As nurses at HCA health care facilities across the country, it has been disheartening to see HCA’s poor response to our safety concerns.”
In a national survey of nearly 10,000 RNs in every U.S. state and territory, NNU found that HCA had among the worst records of pandemic preparedness.
-- Only 35 percent of nurses at HCA Healthcare hospitals report having access to N95 respirators on their units, compared to 52 percent at other facilities
-- 16 percent of nurses have access to PAPRs, compared to 23 percent of all nurses
-- Just 7 percent report having enough PPE to protect staff and patients if there is a surge in patients, compared to 19 percent of all nurses
In the actions, nurses will survey their RN colleagues on PPE preparedness as they report to work at shift changes, marking checklist results on a large survey board as to whether their hospital has adequate PPE for RNs, proper isolation for infected patients, notification to staff about COVID-19 cases, and adequate COVID-19 testing for staff.
The action will be happening tonight between 6:30 and 8 p.m. at Mountainview Hospital on North Tenaya Way in Las Vegas.