Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Save our hospitals

I first worked in a hospital in 1994 as a CNA in the emergency room.
The hospital was a different place then.
The president would walk about and visit with each department at least once a week.
I know he wasn't perfect, but he did seem to care, about the staff and the patients.
I felt I had found my home.
I returned to school and became a Registered Nurse and felt like I could make a real difference in people's lives.

At some point the president was asked to leave and replaced with someone who had no healthcare experience, who moved his office off campus and who looked at the hospital as a business that just happened to have patients.
Employees became an expense, not a resource.
Our voice started to be ignored and our patients suffered.
If we spoke up, we were spoken to.
Now the hospital is part of a "system," the president is "regional director," and he makes near $1.5million a year!

This would be a sad enough story if not for one more thing.
This story is being repeated at hospitals across our state and country.

Right now, workers and the community of Windham Connecticut are fighting to keep needed services from closing.  The "reason" for closing the ICU is "lack of need" but the fact is that the only reason there is a "lack of need" is because the system that owns the hospital wants to ship ICU patients over 30 minutes away to the main hospital.  
The community will suffer.

In Danbury Connecticut, workers at the hospital have voted to unionize to have a voice. Management hired convicted criminals and gave them access to patient care areas in an attempt to intimidate the workers.
The money to intimidate the workers is money intended to be used for patient care, much of it our tax money in the form of medicare and medicaid payments.

At the same time, the Connecticut Hospital Association is waging a media campaign to increase taxpayer funding to hospitals.  The director of CHA makes $800,000/year.
Where does CHA get its funding?
Hospitals pay dues to CHA.
That dues money is also taken from patient care dollars, our tax money.


Why fight workers, why fight the community, why pay dues to CHA?

Executives at Connecticut's not for profit hospitals make lots and lots of money, often over $1million/year.
Unions formed by workers speak out against this abuse of taxpayer's dollars and cuts to vital services and are a threat to executives salaries.

Perhaps if CHA dues money came out of the pockets of the executives things would be different, but they are basically playing with our money and have nothing to lose.

I know this is difficult to believe.  We want to think well our our community hospitals.
At one time we could and we still can, but we have to remember that our community hospitals are  the Nurses, Techs, Therapists, and healthcare workers.
These dedicated workers are trying to save our community hospitals from greed and misuse of our tax dollars.
They need our help.

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