“The number one concern for our nurses is quality patient care, and our vote reflects that,” said Joanne Chapin, a registered nurse in the one-day surgery unit at New Milford Hospital and president of AFT Local 5101. “Cutting direct acute caregivers now or in the future is the wrong prescription for our community hospital,” said Chapin, whose union represents approximately 125 RNs at the facility.
The nurses are concerned about the impact on patient care as a result of the cuts WCHN has already forced on New Milford’s community hospital, which included loss of the facility’s diabetic care coordinator and patient referral case manager. According to a recent study of the effectiveness of mandated minimum staffing ratios in the journal Health Services Research, lower nurse-to-patient ratios significantly lowered the likelihood of a patient’s death.
“From the moment they announced the first round of cuts, the network refused to consider more responsible choices,” said Chapin. “The reality is that we want to be part of the solution, but not at the expense of quality patient care.”
WCHN in July announced cuts to caregiver and healthcare worker positions in facilities it owns across the region, claiming the move was a result of reduced state subsidies. However, WCHN Chief Financial Officer Steven Rosenberg has recently reported to the press that the corporation reaped more than $70 million in earnings in the past two years alone.
“If this was about more than protecting their profit margin, WCHN management should have engaged the bedside workforce in a real discussion,” said Melodie Peters, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and president of AFT Connecticut. “Instead, the corporation concocted a one-sided scheme that risks dragging down the level of care the community has come to expect from New Milford Hospital.”
AFT Connecticut, the largest union of acute care hospital workers in the state, represents approximately 125 nurses at New Milford Hospital. Follow the union on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
# # #