Dear UNAP member,
As I am sure you are aware, staffing in the hospital is at a critical mass and not only has continued, but worsened. Some examples of the critical understaffing include:
- severe understaffing of critical care units
- the lack of float pool staff
- failing to replace CNAs for constant observation
- lack of unit assistants leaving floors without necessary supplies and a delay in patients receiving meals
- virtually no unit secretaries leaving phones and call lights unanswered
- inappropriate assignments for Respiratory Therapists
- Under staffing in Diagnostic Imaging.
A recent article published in Kaiser Health News details federal government penalties against hospitals for unsafe conditions, many of which can be prevented by adequate safe staffing. Not surprisingly, Rhode Island Hospital is a repeat offender- which will result in the Hospital receiving a penalty of reduced Medicare payments through September 2016. Please click here for the article Medicare Penalizes Hospitals for Inadequate Staffing.
While we continue to encourage every member to fill out unsafe staffing forms, circumstances at the hospital require more drastic action. Please click on our updated UNSAFE STAFFING FORM with an additional page to record critical staffing issues in detail.
As you may know, the Hospital is required to provide the Department of Health with a staffing report annually. Once we receive an adequate amount of unsafe staffing forms and detailed information, we will compile the information into a report and provide it to the Department of Health for investigation. Further, this information will be provided to the General Assembly when we present our Patient Safety Act legislation in conjunction with the other locals at the UNAP.
The Teamsters have also started a campaign regarding staffing issues in which we will be sharing the information we each receive from members as well as joining together in other actions. There is strength in numbers and together we will fight to resolve this staffing crisis.
Helene Macedo, RN, President
RIH - UNAP, Local 5098