SEIU workers: Layoffs may affect care’s quality

By William K. Alcorn


Support workers at ValleyCare Health System of Ohio’s Northside Medical Center say layoffs hurt not only the individuals affected but could affect the quality of care at the hospital.

For instance, this month the remaining nine of 25 licensed-practical-nurse positions at Northside were eliminated, dumping more work on registered nurses, said Mary Ann Hupp, administrative organizer for Service Employees International Union District 1199.

Hupp said that in the year since Community Health Systems purchased the bankrupt Forum Health health-care system, about 80 of 600 SEIU-represented jobs at Northside and 10 of 400 at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren have been eliminated.

“We applaud CHS for revitalizing the hospital system and purchasing equipment and doing renovations as promised, but we are disappointed in the job eliminations,” said James Brown, SEIU delegate and 36-year employee at Northside.

For its part, ValleyCare said in a press release that it is committed to delivering high-quality patient care and has spent the past year trying to restore ValleyCare’s financial health, including ensuring that staffing levels are appropriate for the number of patients.

ValleyCare officials said that though there has been some success in increasing patient volume, positions were carried the past year that are not currently critical for the delivery of high-quality care.

“Our recent staffing adjustments were carefully considered to ensure that they would not compromise patient care. The quality of the care we provide and the availability of nursing and other clinical support for our patients are as strong as ever,” hospital officials said.

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