UMass Medical Center Seeks to Join Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
“We are proud to be the newest member of the well-regarded and nationally recognized Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative. This relationship builds on our long relationship with Dana-Farber for rare cancers. It will strengthen our adult medical oncology services and, together with our expert surgeons and radiation oncologists, assures that UMass Memorial Medical Center provides the very best cancer care for the people of Central and Western Massachusetts, right here in our community,” said Eric Dickson, MD, CEO of the UMass Memorial Health Care system.
UMass and Dana-Farber informed the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission of their intentions on Tuesday.
“Dana-Farber is committed to helping relieve the burden of cancer for as many people as possible through critical research and exceptional patient care. We do this by developing better preventive and diagnostic capabilities and therapies, caring for people with cancer directly ourselves, and whenever possible, by working with high quality providers like UMass Memorial Medical Center. We are excited to welcome UMass Memorial into the DanaFarber Cancer Care Collaborative and look forward to deepening our relationship,” said Laurie Glimcher, MD, president and CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Membership in the collaborative will ensure that UMass Memorial Medical Center staff will be able to consult with medical specialists at Dana-Farber in Boston, as needed. In addition, the two hospitals will explore the feasibility of expanding opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials at either site.
Members of the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative must meet the high standards of care across a variety of practices and procedures, which are reviewed annually, and new practices and innovations in patient care are shared with member hospitals.
Related Slideshow: Patient Care Quality Issues in Central MA Hospitals
Issue at Hand: In the wake of a changing medical field, the nurses are unionizing with the MNA to have a voice in their hospital in regards to patient care.
“Our goal in forming a union at Athol was first and foremost to ensure that our patients are given the best care possible,” said Denise Raymond, an emergency department nurse at Athol Hospital and a member of the organizing committee. “We made this decision with the best interests of this community and this hospital in mind. As registered nurses we are responsible for the care we provide to our patients and now for the first time we will have a say in how we deliver that care.”
Issue at Hand: The nurses delivered a petition to the hospital's CEO Deborah Weymouth asking to meet about concerns regarding cutting staff and merging the pediatric, labor and delivery, and maternity units. After initially agreeing to meet, Weymouth later refused and announced plans to press on with the proposed cuts and merger.
“We are shocked by our CEOs total disregard for the nurses and patients at this hospital as demonstrated by her refusal to hear what we have to say about changes that will impact the safety of our patients. “said Natalie M. Pereira, a nurse at the hospital and chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United. “She is the CEO, the buck stops with her and so does the responsibility for the safety of every patient in this hospital. It is all too clear that she cares more about the bucks than the patients at this facility, which only strengthens nurses’ resolve to speak out about the dangers of this plan.”
UMass Memorial: Memorial Campus
Issue at Hand: Nurses at the UMass Memorial's Memorial Campus have seen round after round of staffing cuts for not only nurses, but valuable support staff. They have also seen a closure of a medical floor, increased patient assignments, and the elimination of one-to-one sitters for high risk patients and the IV therapy team. Nurses have been ready to strike since 2013 and have cast a vote of no confidence in the Director of Nursing.
“These are the worst conditions at this hospital that I have seen since I began working here,” said Lynne Starbard, RN, Maternity Nurse at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s Memorial Campus and Co-Chair of the nurses local bargaining unit. “Dickson was a physician who came up in this system; my hope is that he realizes what he is doing to patients and nurses by continually cutting important programs and position.”
UMass Memorial: University Campus
Issue at Hand: Nurses at UMass Memorial's University Campus share the grievances of the Memorial Campus, which include round after round of staffing cuts as well as the closure of a medical floor, increased patient assignments, and the elimination of one-to-one sitters for high risk patients and the IV therapy team.
“I think that conditions are actually getting worse,” said Ellen Smith, RN, Critical Care Nurse at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s University Campus and co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit. “We met this morning – we have a staff meeting once a quarter – and we spoke about how unsafe the hospital is for patients; it’s absolutely crazy. We feel that our unit is unsafe; it isn’t safe for patients or nurses.”
Issue at Hand: Nurses have been battling against staff layoffs and poor patient care condition. Nurses are particularly upset about cuts on the medical surgical floor, as well as the telemetry floor and the emergency department, causing nurses to care for as many as eight patients at one time. The hospital - in mid-August - hired a new Chief Nursing Officer but changes remain to be seen.
“The fact that they have hired a new chief nursing officer means nothing to us yet,” said David Schildmeier, Director of Public Communications with the Massachusetts Nurses Association. “If he is smart then he will immediately hire a number of nurses to benefit patient care. If he is hired and concerns of nurses aren’t addressed, then we will continue to fight and raise our concerns. The fact is this new hire needs to act more like a nurse than an executive or administrator.”
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